Herrera Beutler answers final question from live chat

During a live chat with readers on The Columbian’s website last week, U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Camas, had to run before answering a final reader question on same-sex marriage. She’s since followed up with a brief answer.

Live chat participant Greg Saum had asked:

“Congresswoman Herrera, one of the issues which is extremely important to me is Referendum 74. My partner and I have been together for 16 years and we celebrated our 10-year anniversary with a commitment ceremony in our church in 2006.

“We are registered domestic partners and while we feel married under the eyes of God, we are not married according to the laws of the state of Washington. Recent polls show that a majority of Washingtonians favor gay marriage and it seems likely that Referendum 74 will pass. In the past you have spoken out against marriage equality.

“Has your stance changed? If not, what legal and Constitutional arguments do you claim support your position? Thank you for your time.”

The congresswoman had to leave to go to her next appointment, but she encouraged Saum to send her that question in a letter so she could answer him.

For others who might be curious about Herrera’s answer, her spokesman, Casey Bowman, passed this response along by email:

“I understand this is a complex and personal issue for many folks, like Greg,” Herrera Beutler wrote. “We need to be compassionate and respectful to everyone, but I believe in the traditional definition of marriage, and that is between one man and one woman.”

Her response didn’t quite answer Saum’s question. Her stance hasn’t changed, as far as I can tell. She hasn’t supported same-sex marriage in the past, and her belief about that hasn’t changed.

If you missed The Columbian’s live chat with Herrera Beutler, you can replay the whole thing here. To view other live chats we’ve hosted this election season, click here.

Stevie Mathieu: 360-735-4523 or stevie.mathieu@columbian.com or www.facebook.com/reportermathieu or www.twitter.com/col_politics

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