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For one Washington state lawmaker, the question of whether to approve a marriage equality bill boiled down to a devastatingly honest answer -- one accompanied with touching humor so rarely seen in politics.
"You know, I was married for 23 years to the love of my life, and he died six years ago," Rep. Maureen Walsh, a Republican who has a gay daughter, told House colleagues during the bill's Wednesday debate. "And I'm a lonely old widow right now. I'm 51 years old, looking for a boyfriend, not having much luck with that," she said to laughter in the chamber.
Walsh continued, "And yet, when I think of my husband, and I think of all the wonderful 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 it is certainly not the aspect of that relationship, that 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 could I deny anyone the right to have that incredible bond with another individual in life?'" Walsh said. "To me it seems almost cruel."
Gov. Chris Gregoire is expected to sign the Washington marriage equality bill next week. Watch video of Walsh's remarks below via MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show.