NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

Marriage equality gains twenty-fifth vote in state Senate; Haugen to vote yes

Great news this after­noon: We final­ly have the votes to pass mar­riage equal­i­ty in the Wash­ing­ton State Legislature!

Min­utes ago, Sen­a­tor Mary Mar­garet Hau­gen — who had pre­vi­ous­ly said she was only will­ing to sup­port putting the issue on the bal­lot for a pub­lic vote — reversed her posi­tion and decid­ed to join the forces of equality.

Here’s the first few para­graphs of her state­ment:

I have received many let­ters, emails, phone calls, very heart­felt, from both sides of the issue. I’ve also received a num­ber of very neg­a­tive com­ments from both sides.

For some peo­ple, this is a sim­ple issue. I envy them. It has not been sim­ple or easy for me.

To some degree, this is gen­er­a­tional. Years ago I took excep­tion to my par­ents’ beliefs on cer­tain social issues, and today my chil­dren take excep­tion to some of mine. Times change, even if it makes us uncom­fort­able. I think we should all be uncom­fort­able some­time. None of us knows every­thing, and it’s impor­tant to have our beliefs ques­tioned. Only one being in this world is omni­scient, and it’s not me.

I have very strong Chris­t­ian beliefs, and per­son­al­ly I have always said when I accept­ed the Lord, I became more tol­er­ant of oth­ers. I stopped judg­ing peo­ple and try to live by the Gold­en Rule. This is part of my deci­sion. I do not believe it is my role to judge oth­ers, regard­less of my per­son­al beliefs. It’s not always easy to do that. For me per­son­al­ly, I have always believed in tra­di­tion­al mar­riage between a man and a woman. That is what I believe, to this day.

But this issue isn’t about just what I believe. It’s about respect­ing oth­ers, includ­ing peo­ple who may believe dif­fer­ent­ly than I. It’s about whether every­one has the same oppor­tu­ni­ties for love and com­pan­ion­ship and fam­i­ly and secu­ri­ty that I have enjoyed.

Sen­a­tor Hau­gen deserves a lot of cred­it for being will­ing to rethink her stance. Those of us at NPI who are Chris­tians don’t believe that legal­iz­ing mar­riage equal­i­ty is at odds with the teach­ings of Jesus Christ.

But even if it were (as many fun­da­men­tal­ists incor­rect­ly argue it is), Amer­i­ca is a nation found­ed on the sep­a­ra­tion of church and state.

That sep­a­ra­tion is what guar­an­tees us our reli­gious freedom.

Each reli­gion cer­tain­ly is with­in its rights to decide on its own def­i­n­i­tion of mar­riage. But it is immoral and improp­er for gov­ern­ment to dic­tate who can mar­ry whom. LGBT cou­ples in com­mit­ted rela­tion­ships who want to mar­ry should have the free­dom to do so. Mar­riage equal­i­ty is a mat­ter of equal rights under the law. We are very glad to see that Sen­a­tor Hau­gen has rec­og­nized that.

So is Sen­a­tor Ed Murray.

“I want to thank Sen. Mary Mar­garet Hau­gen for her deci­sion today,” Mur­ray said in a state­ment of his own. “I know that she takes her respon­si­bil­i­ty to her con­stituents and their com­mu­ni­ties very seri­ous­ly. I know she lis­tens to them. Her stand on an issue that is both so per­son­al and so con­tentious in every com­mu­ni­ty is tru­ly coura­geous. I believe Sen. Hau­gen has shown the upmost in thought­ful­ness and con­sid­er­a­tion – and her deci­sion means fam­i­lies across our state may step out of a spe­cial sec­ond class and into equal­i­ty this year.”

We at NPI wel­come the news that mar­riage equal­i­ty now has the votes to pass both the House and the Sen­ate. In a mat­ter of weeks, we hope to see it signed into law by Gov­er­nor Chris Gre­goire. That will be a great day.

We ful­ly expect that the reli­gious right will launch a ref­er­en­dum cam­paign to put the issue on the bal­lot in Novem­ber of 2012. We will do our part to urge vot­ers to uphold the law in the event they are suc­cess­ful in forc­ing a vote.

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2 Comments

  1. Equal­i­ty this year, yes. Thank you for all that you do.

    # by Rae Lyn Saetern :: January 23rd, 2012 at 11:46 PM
  2. Wow! Thank you for your sup­port sen­a­tor Hau­gen. Your vote will be on the right side of his­to­ry and will leave a last­ing and lov­ing lega­cy. You are part if mak­ing the world a bet­ter place today.

    # by Devon :: January 24th, 2012 at 5:55 AM

One Ping

  1. […] Mar­riage equal­i­ty gains twen­ty-fifth vote in state Sen­ate; Hau­gen to vote yes […]

    Ping from Morning Rundown for January 24th, 2012 :: January 24th, 2012 at 10:12 AM