The state House, after two hours of debate that sometimes grew intense, voted 55-43 on Wednesday to make Washington the seventh state to legalize same-sex marriage. The legislation now goes to Gov. Chris Gregoire, who has promised to sign it into law. She watched the House debate from the wings. "This is truly a historic day in Washington state, and one where I couldn't be more proud," Gregoire said in a statement. Let's listen in on how our lawmakers reasoned this one out. The following excerpts are based on reports from The Seattle Times, Seattle PI.com, and the Tacoma News Tribune.
* Rep. Jay Rodne, a gay-marriage opponent from North Bend: "Marriage has been the union of a man and a woman. When that union is consummated there is potential for the creation of life. Marriage is about life."
* Rep. Bill Hinkle, R-Cle Elum: "We believe that when you redefine marriage, you put the whole building at risk. The whole structure of society."
* Said Rep. Maureen Walsh, R-Walla Walla, one of two House Republicans who voted for the measure: "My daughter came out of the closet a couple of years ago. I thought I would agonize about that. But nothing is different. She's still a fabulous human being and she's met a person that she loves very much and someday, by God, I want to throw a wedding for that kid. I hope that's what I can do." (Click here to view her remarkable speech.)
* "This is about families, this is about kids, this is about love and commitment," said Rep. Laurie Jinkins, D-Tacoma. "It is about standing before family and friends and making the commitment of a lifetime."
* Rep. Jamie Pedersen, D-Seattle, a gay lawmaker: "Marriage is the word our society uses to describe committed lifelong relationships."
* Rep. Steve Kirby, D-Tacoma, who voted against the bill, said afterward: "A lot of the feedback I got from people in my district was if you're going to vote for it, it should have a referendum on it. We send a lot of things to a vote of the public; certainly if a gas tax is important enough to hold a public vote, then so is this."