The following are Sen. Murray's remarks on the marriage equality bill, as prepared:
I recognize the issue before us; granting gay and lesbian couples the right to marry, is as contentious as any issue the Senate has debated in its history.
Those members who will vote against this bill today are my colleagues and they are my friends; they are not and should not be accused of bigotry.
Those of us who support this legislation are not and should not be accused of attempting to destroy family life or religious freedom.
Instead, all who are part of this great debate, believe in this nation, we are all patriots, attempting to do the best for the state we love.
The bill before us reflects our common commitment to religious freedom. It creates an absolute exemption for religious organizations and clergy that do not wish to marry lesbian or gay couples.
This is a difficult, personal issue because it is about what is closest to us all – family. At the heart of family is marriage.
Each of has seen in our families and among our friends the strength and joy and the pain and sorrow that marriage brings.
Domestic partnership was always an imperfect instrument, not easily understood, not easily providing the protection that all families, including ours, need.
We ask for your support not simply because marriage is a collection of legal rights.
We ask for your support because marriage is the unique way our society says, “you are family”
Marriage tells a community of a couple’s love for each other, and their commitment to care for each other in health and sickness.
What has changed since that first domestic partnership bill?
Washingtonians have come to understand that gay and lesbian families are our neighbors and friends.
They have come to understands why the state trooper who puts his life on the line for us everyday wishes to marry the man who hopes for his safe return home.
They have come to understand it is only fair that the young veteran who fought for this nation in the middle east should be able to marry the person she loves.
They have come to understand why a couple from Spokane Valley married for 56 years, Fred and Lily Shiosaki want to see the son they love marry the man he loves.
In the end, we share the same short moment of life. We seek as you do, the chance to live our lives, to experience joy, to care for our families, to contribute to our communities and to the nation we love.
This is why we seek your support.
Sen. Murray and his partner, Michael Shiosaki as the marriage equality bill came to a vote.