Big news today: the 25th Washington state senator announced her support of a marriage equality law, meaning they have the votes to pass a bill, leading to a probable ballot fight. While six states have marriage equality laws, our friends to the north could become the first state to pass equality at the ballot.
Senator Haugen's statement is particularly poignant, as she speaks to the generational issue, the religion issue, and the family issue, all of which are likely to be major questions during the campaign:
All of us enjoy the benefits of being Americans, but none of us holds a monopoly on what it means to be an American. Ours is truly a big tent, and while the tent may grow and shrink according to the political winds of the day, it should never shrink when it comes to our rights as individuals.
From The Stranger:
State senator Mary Margaret Haugen has announced that she's in... because "my choice is to allow all men and women in our state to enjoy the same privileges that are so important in my life."
Haugen's is the key 25th vote required to push the pivotal marriage equality bill through the Washington State Senate—the house is already secured—and the governor is prepared to sign the bill into law... Unless something shifts in the weeks before the vote, the larger campaign for marriage equality is on.
[T]he real question, assuming religious extremists succeed in placing this on the ballot (and they likely will), is whether Washington voters will make us the first state in history to approve same-sex marriage at the polls.
This is what leadership looks like. The burden is on the Washington legislature and voters to pass their law. Once those hurdles are cleared, we'll be even more eager in Oregon, hopefully with the polling and financial resources need to pass equality into law here.
A fitting bit of news, one week after MLK Day. As Martin Luther King, Jr. said: “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” And as Claudia Rosett wrote, "King was not sitting around waiting for that arc to bend."
Update: To clarify, other states have passed these laws legislatively, and same-sex marriages have occurred legally in Oregon under Coquille tribal law. In Massachusetts, Iowa, Connecticut, the courts found marriage equality was required. The legislatures of Vermont, Maine and New York passed marriage equality laws, as did Washington DC, and Connecticut's legislature passed one post-court order. The presumption in Washington state is the law will be referred to the voters by anti-equality forces gathering signatures.