Washington reaches enough votes to pass marriage equality

Yesterday, Pam’s House Blend divulged of Washington Senator Mary Margaret Haugen’s announcement that she was supporting marriage equality, making her the 25th — and final — vote needed to pass the state’s marriage equality bill (SB 6239). PHB’s note of Haugen’s statement on her decision was one that struck me:

“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. …

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.”

While it’s not the kind of impassioned full-fledged speeches of support we saw by several New York Democrats when marriage equality passed, what I sort of love about this statement — and her decision — was the very fact that it appeared to be one that wasn’t made easily for her. Because despite what personal judgments or religious institutions may expect of a person, every so often we see a lawmaker with one previously held conservative, regressive view that discriminates others’ rights and liberties make a conscious decision to choose humanity over intolerance, or love over hate; to simply recognize that the world is rapidly progressing, and to hold that back does nothing but harm their nation’s growth.

You may say I’m naive or overly optimistic — and trust me,  I have my fair share of cynicism, particularly considering we have more pressing issues than marriage equality to address in the LGBTQ and broader social justice movements. But it’s still refreshing to see one changed mind, especially when it’s one that makes history.

Read the rest of her statement at PHB.

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