Dem From Conservative District Backs Marriage Equality, Washington Now Has Enough Votes To Pass Bill

There are now enough votes to pass marriage equality in Washington state, the Associated Press is reporting. Earlier this afternoon, State Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen (D) pledged to support the legislation, “providing the deciding vote in the Senate to legalize gay marriage in Washington state.” From her statement:

“I know this announcement makes me the so-called 25th vote, the vote that ensures passage. That’s neither here nor there. If I were the first or the seventh or the 28th vote, my position would not be any different. I happen to be the 25th because I insisted on taking this much time to hear from my constituents and to sort it out for myself, to reconcile my religious beliefs with my beliefs as an American, as a legislator, and as a wife and mother who cannot deny to others the joys and benefits I enjoy.”

Just last week, Haugen told her constituents during a town hall, “I will tell you they will not have the votes in the state Senate without a vote of the people.” She represents a Republican-leaning district and justified her opposition by saying, “I must represent the entire 10th District and we have a lot of evangelicals…for me personally this is a tough issue, one of the toughest.”

Opponents of marriage equality have pledged to put marriage equality on the ballot and allow residents to vote on gay people’s marriages. But a poll conducted by the University of Washington Center for Survey Research in October found that 55 percent of voters in Washington “would support a state gay marriage law if it’s approved by the Legislature.” A substantial percentage of people who prefer ‘domestic partnership’ also said they would vote yes to keep same sex marriage if passed by the legislature, including “54 percent of self-described Independents and 57 percent of self-described moderates.”