Sen. Haugen says she'll vote for same-sex marriage law
January 23, 2012 · 12:26 PM
State Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen announced today she will support a proposed law allowing same-sex marriage.
Haugen, a 10th District Democrat from Camano Island, has been under intense public pressure to support the law after residents jammed a town hall meeting in Bayview and pressed her to support the proposal earlier this month.
The law needs 25 votes to pass the Senate, and Haugen was the holdout vote on the Democratic side.
In a statement to the press, Haugen said she had heard from many people who support same-sex marriage, but said supporting the proposed law was not an easy decision for her to make.
“For some people, this is a simple issue. I envy them. It has not been simple or easy for me," Haugen said.
“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," she continued. "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."
Haugen said she made up her mind after an amendment to the law was offered that would allow a church to refuse to marry a couple if that marriage contradicted the church’s teachings.
"That’s important, and it helped shape my decision," she said.
Haugen also repeated her earlier wish that the issue go to voters.
“My preference would be to put this issue on the ballot and give all Washingtonians the opportunity to wrestle with this issue, to search their hearts as I have, and to make the choice for themselves. But I do not know that there are the votes to put it to a ballot measure. So, forced to make a choice, my choice is to allow all men and women in our state to enjoy the same privileges that are so important in my life," she said.