Washington State legalizes same-sex marriage–Republican Walsh speaks out

Recently our federal government cast doubt on the validity of thousands of same-sex marriages while saying that they have no intention of reopening the debate (same-sex marriages were enshrined into law under Paul Martin in 2004). Is there a fly in this soup?

walshFour days ago across the 49th, Washington State, after rounds of thermal debates, became the seventh state to legalize same-sex marriage.

I remember the debates back here swirling at the foothills of our 2004 federal election.  I remember the vitriolic reports coming out of the town hall meetings. I remember responding in our town newspaper (a decision that put me on notice among some in my church).

I recall watching Question Period and the scrums—all the fulminating, the barbs, the squeaky soundbites, the "facts" about homosexuals, the flourishes of rhetoric about the new demon on the back of traditional marriage.

I recall much of this, but I don’t recall a speech quite like the one by Washington State Representative Maureen Walsh, a Republican, who stood to give an unpolished and deeply personal address, that perhaps, though her sensitivity and humour assured the passing of the bill.


  1. Of all the sins that the Canadian & American state sees fit to legalize, condone & in some quarters celebrate same sex marriage is actually one of the more benign ones. But it’s still an offence against God, in my opinion. Will having this opinion still be legal 10 years from now, I wonder.

  2. I understand your opinion Ian, many years ago I held it. And of course you have a right to it, and I would defend your right to have it.

    Bracketing out aberrations such as Westboro Baptist, I remember when the church saved some of its least benign condemnation for the homosexual community. Condemnation that lead to personal destruction and suicide. Gay and lesbian brothers and sisters who grow up within the Christian church are still made to occupy a space of great shame. A space known intimately by Jesus. That is why it is their stories we need to hear and inscribe within the Christian story. Consider the book “Beyond Resentment” by James Alison, an irrefutable Christian example.

  3. That’s always an important question Ian. Especially now, as you’ve noted, when even the conservatives, that supposed bastion of personal privacy and small government, is poised to monitor our online activities (and opinions?).

  4. Thank you Rep Walsh!

    And may I add, denying anyone the chance to marry isn’t “almost cruel” , it IS cruel. And stupid.

  5. May I recommend some reading.

    Cere, Daniel, Farrow, Douglas, eds. (2004). Divorcing Marriage: Unveiling the Dangers in Canada’s New Social Experiment. Montreal: Mc-Gill-Queen’s University Press. (includes a chapter by medical ethicist Margaret Somerville)

    Blankenhorn, David (2007). The future of marriage. New York: Encounter Books. (includes a fascinating description of the history of marriage across cultures)

    The gist of the two books: The values of an individualistic, adult-happiness-oriented society, based on liberal values, logically results in the establishment of rights like same-sex marriage. A more communally oriented society, that would value the contribution of caring for children would affirm the importance of establishing the desirability of children having both a mother and a father. The authors state that laws allowing same-sex marriage teach that children have essentially nothing to do with marriage, but that it’s about adult happiness.

  6. I appreciate your reading recommendations Sam. I also appreciate the ‘gist’ of the books, as you’ve outlined. And I would agree with the conclusions if I believed that gay and lesbian folk were simply defective heterosexuals.

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