“At the present time, society is equally divided on the issue of gay marriage,” said Senator Kenneth P. LaValle.
“We experienced the same division years ago when people of the opposite sex lived together without the rite of marriage. These relationships were frowned upon. Today, society accepts such living arrangements and governments have changed laws to accommodate unmarried couples in a domestic partnership.
“I believe the next transitional step for gay and lesbian couples is civil unions. I believe this would be accepted by society and would provide same sex couples equality of rights under the law. The state of Washington passed a referendum, with the support of the gay and lesbian communities, to ensure equality without marriage. By allowing society a transition period, same sex couples will have a better opportunity to achieve their goal in the future.
“My position has always been that, as citizens of a society, we must treat each other with respect and dignity, even though we may have differing views. That is what makes our country great.”