“You Rock, Mom!”

In February 2012, Maureen Walsh, State Representative from Walla Walla, Washington, gave a speech to 97 of her colleagues in the Washington Legislature in which she supported legalizing same-sex marriage in the state. Actor George Takei, best known for playing the character “Mr. Sulu” on Star Trek, is a gay man, and he posted video of her speech on Facebook, where it went viral and generated almost universal positive feedback. Ms. Walsh said, “I can’t believe what’s going on. I just got an email from Ireland.” In her speech, Ms. Walsh talked about her late husband and how she wants everyone to be able to experience the kind of connection they had while they were married. She also talked about loving her gay daughter and how she hopes one day to attend her daughter’s wedding. Ms. Walsh said afterward, “I was proud of myself because I didn’t cry. When I really got emotional was afterward when my daughter texted me and said, ‘You rock, Mom!’” In his Facebook post about Ms. Walsh’s speech, Mr. Takei wrote, “A glimpse inside the debates of the Washington Legislature on same-sex marriage equality. This mom of three really hits it home. It is hard to watch without choking up as she does.” Ms. Walsh was one of the few Republicans in the House to vote with a majority of Democrats in favor of the bill allowing gay couples to marry in the state of Washington. The bill passed. Ms. Walsh commended her colleagues: “I’m just so impressed with my colleagues on the House floor. People were kind and gracious about this issue. It’s tough to be the odd man out in the caucus, but my caucus has been so kind to me. I am so proud to work with these people.”

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