After 30 years of effort, the Washington Gay Rights Bill is Defeated again. When will the Legislature understand that homosexual citizens deserve equal rights with all other citizens? Sen. Jim Hargrove, a Democrat, said he opposed the measure for religious reasons. "I believe adultery is wrong; I believe sex outside marriage is wrong; I believe homosexuality is wrong," he said. "I cannot give government protection to this behavior." And yet homosexual *behavior* or homosexual *intercourse* had nothing to do with this bill. The legislation would have prohibited discrimination in jobs, housing and insurance. And presumably Hargrove opposes allowing gay persons to marry, and doesn't see the irony in his ignorant statement.
To quote a story on 365gay.com,
Microsoft, Washington state's biggest employer, is accused of bowing to a conservative Christian group and pulling its support for an LGBT civil rights bill, ensuring its defeat. The New York Times has picked up the story - Microsoft Comes Under Fire for Reversal on Gay Rights Bill: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/22/national/22gay.htmlI'm so happy to be able to say that I use no Microsoft products!
The legislation, which gay rights groups had fought for nearly 30 years to achieve, fell by only one vote yesterday in the state Senate.
Microsoft, one of the first employers in Washington to write LGBT equality into its company policy, and a longtime advocate of the civil rights bill, withdrew its support this year. LGBT activists say the move followed a meeting between the company and the leader of an evangelical church located a stone's throw from Microsoft's Redmond headquarters.
According to the Seattle PI, "Minority Leader Bill Finkbeiner, R-Kirkland, took most of the heat yesterday for his no vote." He had previously voted for similar measures. The PI: "Finkbeiner said although he was conflicted about the vote, he didn't think the new law was necessary." "'There's a lot of things that I think are wrong, and we don't have a law against them,' Finkbeiner said. "I don't believe that in any way this vote condones discrimination in any way, shape or form. I still absolutely believe that it's wrong. I still believe that it does happen in some occurrences, but this state is actually pretty progressive and open minded.'"
Finkbeiner is wrong. If the bill was not needed because there is no discrimination taking place against gay people because of their sexual orientation, the bill would not have been introduced. 16 states in the US have similar legislation, along with some cities and towns. All of them were written and passed because there was a need for them.
To write to your Washington state legislators, see: http://www.leg.wa.gov/DistrictFinder/Default.aspx
Write or call them, and express your feelings about this injustice. Equal rights for ALL!
Post Script: This has made me angry enough to look up Equal Rights Washington and join and donate money. http://www.equalrightswashington.org/
Also see: Teen shows wisdom that elders lack: http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/jamieson/219935_robert13.html
Now that I've donated some money to fight the injustice in our state, and written a letter to Sen. Finkbeiner, I'm starting to feel a bit better. ERW had a cool link for writing letters to editors of newspapers: http://capwiz.com/wa/dbq/media/. This makes it easy to send up to 5 short letters to newspapers who accept letters by email. Try it!
A coalition of organizations working to advance equality for the LGBT community in Washington State.
http://www.equalrightswashington.org email: email@example.com
P.O. Box 12216
Seattle, WA 98122
Morality is simply the attitude we adopt towards people we personally dislike. - Oscar Wilde