"I wished I could have come to the point that I am today six years ago, seven years ago, five years ago," Gov. Chris Gregoire says, hoping to explain why - now as a lame duck politican - she finally joined the growing ranks of gay-marriage supporters. "But it took me a journey and for that, I'm sorry that it took me as long as it did. But it's genuine. It's not about politics. It's very heartfelt. It's about my [Catholic] faith and I have struggled with it."
I believe he will get to where I found myself, [as New York] Governor [Andrew] Cuomo found himself [more than a year ago]. But people need to give him the opportunity to get there.
On the other hand, the Democrat opposes the stand of Chris Christie, her Republican gubernatorial counterpart in New Jersey, who has promised to veto any gay marriage bill and put it to a vote of the people (which could be the eventual fate of gay marriage in Washington even if the legislature approves the measure).
If someone out there in the community believes it should go to a ballot there's a mechanism by which they can do that readily in our state, and do it all the time, and I respect that and believe the people of the State of Washington will stand up. But meanwhile, today, in my state I am urging every one of my senators and representatives: stand up, take the vote, do the right thing. Bear the responsibility, do not just send it to the ballot.
Judging by the "thousands" of calls and e-mail responses she's gotten to her announcement, she's confident she took the right stand - "against discrimination" Gregoire says. As one teenager wrote her:
I've thought about suicide, and now that you've come out as strong as you have, I feel good about myself. And one day I will not go on bended-knee and ask someone to join me in a domestic partnership -- I'll ask them to marry me.
"That's the exact thing that moved me to where I am," says Gregoire, "and that's only right for our children in this state and for their parents."