Mary Margaret Haugen became the 25th member of the state senate, and the last vote needed to pass the bill, after scores of same-sex marriage supporters told their stories in the state capital for more than two hours.
The bill, first brought up by Washington governor Christine Gregoire, is expected to easily pass in the House but was one vote short of passage in the Senate until Haugen announced her support this afternoon.
Haugen, a Democrat, cited her “very strong Christian beliefs” as part of the reason she supports marriage equality.
“Only one being in this world is omniscient, and it’s not me,” she said in a statement. “Personally I have always said when I accepted the Lord, I became more tolerant of others. I stopped judging people and try to live by the Golden Rule. This is part of my decision. I do not believe it is my role to judge others, regardless of my personal beliefs.”
Lacey All, chair for Washington United for Marriage, said the senator’s decision was the result of those stories told by LGBT Washingtonians.
“We’ve known for a long time that our stories are powerful, and sharing those stories can change hearts and minds,” All said in a statement cheering the decision. “Hundreds of constituents shared their stories of love, commitment and family with Sen. Haugen, and in doing so convinced her that she was doing the right thing for Washington.”