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You know I was married for 23 years to the love of my life, and he died six years ago. And I think of all the years we had, and the wonderful fringe benefit of having three beautiful children. I don’t miss the sex, you know? And to me that’s kind of what this boils down to. I don’t miss that. I mean, I certainly miss it, but I don’t, it’s not — (Laughter from chambers) — it is certainly not the aspect of that relationship, the incredible bond that I had with that human being, that I really, really, genuinely wish I still had.

And so I think to myself, how can I deny anyone the right to have that incredible bond with another individual in life? To me, it seems almost cruel.

You know, years ago, my daughter went to, she was in elementary school. Many of you have met my daughter. She’s a fabulous girl. She’s wonderful. My boys are great too, but my daughter is just something special, and she was the light of her father’s eyes. And she went to school and there were some kids that were, a whole group of kids that were picking on another kid. And you know, my daughter stood up for that kid, even though it was not the popular thing to do. She knew it was the right thing to do. And I was never more proud of my kid, knowing that she was speaking against the vocal majority on behalf of the rights of the minority.

And to me, it is incumbent upon us as legislators in this state to do that. That is why we are here, and I shudder to think that if folks who had proceeded us in history did not do that, frankly I’m not sure I would be here as a woman. I’m not sure that others would be here due to their race, or their creed. And to me, that is what’s disconcerting.

And someone made the comment that this is not about equality. Well yes it is about equality. And why in the world would we not allow those equal rights for individuals who truly were committed to on another in life to be able to show that by way of a marriage?

You know, my daughter came out of the closet a couple of years ago. And you know what? I thought I was going to just agonize about that.

Nothing’s different. She’s still a fabulous human being, and she’s met a person that she loves very much. And someday, by God, I wanna throw a wedding for that kid. And I hope that’s exactly what I can do. I hope she will not feel like a second-class citizen involved in something called a ‘domestic partnership’ — which frankly sounds like a Merry Maids franchise to me.

Washington State Representative MAUREEN WALSH, Republican, on why she voted to legalize marriage equality in her state.

Dear New Jersey governor Chris Christie and others in the Republican Party who continue to demonize those who want marriage equality: this is what courage, and not cowardice, looks like.  This is what it sounds like when you choose not to run away from your responsiblity to govern and ensure equal rights for all people.