Gov. Chris Gregoire Apologizes for Gay Marriage Delay

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Washington Governor Chris Gregoire, in a newly released interview, recounts her transition from State Attorney General defending a same-sex marriage ban to spearheading a full-reversal in the legislature culminating in the legalization of same-sex marriage as Governor.

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(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Signed into law this month, same-sex marriage had eventually become the centerpiece of the Governor's final term in office. "As governor for more than seven years, this is one of my proudest moments," she said at the signing. Gregoire has faced criticism for the years when she worked against that "proudest moment," starting with her defense of the same-sex marriage ban:

(As State Attorney General) I took an oath to defend our laws whether I agreed with them or not. Ultimately, I was governor by the time the case went to our supreme court, but I will tell you that before I left, I thought every argument that my lawyers advanced before me didn't work. The court decided 5-4 to uphold the law, and I think the decision that was made was flawed legally... When you look at the strength of separation of church and state in Washington's Constitution, and you put up all the arguments, I can't justify the court's decision.

But same-sex marriage wasn't just a policy issue for Gregoire. She also struggled personally with where she stood on the issue:

Obviously, I have been very conflicted with my underlying Catholic faith when it came to marriage... In 2006, I had been governor for one year, and we got an anti-discrimination bill passed. Then domestic partnerships the year after, and the year after that we expanded domestic partnerships. I was running for reelection that same year, and the marriage question came up, and I said, "The state's not ready." That was probably a reflection of not only where I felt the state was but also where I was. I remember saying to my campaign folks, "Don't ask me again. I don't want to discuss this issue." It was an anger that built up in me because I was too conflicted. At that point I decided, "I need to come to grips with why I am so conflicted. Why don't I feel good about the position I find myself in?" That really forced me to put the thoughtfulness into it. And in the end it wasn't a day, it wasn't a month--it was years.

Asked if she had any regrets:

Yeah. I apologize that it took me so long. I feel better about my head and my heart than I have in seven years. But it took me time. I regret that it took me that much time, but it just did.
 
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