In Washington state, the Senate approved a bill expanding every right to domestic partners that married couples get. Senator Dale Brandland, a Republican, that's right a Republican, didn't do what Republicans normally, do, and he didn't say what they normally say.
Instead, Brandland said, "I guess from my perspective, I've come to the conclusion that people are born gay. I don't think this is something that they just pick up along the way. Once I came up with that kind of conclusion, it wasn't difficult for me to understand that gay people are going to develop feelings for people of the same sex and will want to get into meaningful relationships. I thought it was inappropriate to deny them some of the basic rights that relationship entails."
Of course, the Faith and Freedom Network, a conservative group, wasn't happy that Brandland might not vote their way on the legislation. Gary Randall, the group's president, wrote blog posts and sent out out e-mails asking members to contact Brandland and two other Republicans--I know! More Republicans!--Senator Cheryl Pflug and Senator Curtis King, whom he said "are not with us."
See what he did there? Gary Randall and his folks are "us." And we are "them."
And Dale Brandland heard from some of us and some of them. Though his office tracks only in-district contacts on bills, his staff heard from sixty-three folks in his district who oppose the legislation, and eighty-one in favor.
Brandland voted for the bill, like he voted in favor of the legislation that created a domestic partnership registry in the state. And in 2008, he said yes to legislation that expanded a few hundred rights to those partnerships.
His 'yes' vote didn't please the Faith and Freedom Network. Gary Randall, on the organization's blog after the vote, called Brandland "a gay activist's fantasy," who, along with the two other Republicans "had abandoned their own Republican party and voted against traditional marriage."
He's not my "fantasy." Brandland, and others, Republican and Democrat, are, in fact, becoming more of the "reality." Still, Brandland, who calls himself a fiscally conservative and socially liberal Republican, doesn't support marriage for gay couples. "I basically said I was in favor of going as far as civil unions," he said.
Baby steps, Dale, baby steps.
You said it yourself, we all want the same things in life, and marriage is one of those things.