Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Christine Gregoire on the Signing of Civil Rights Legislation

Bill Signing Remarks from the Office of Governor Chris Gregoire

Civil Rights Legislation, ESHB 2661

January 31, 2006

Governor Gregoire:
In 1977, a group of thoughtful citizens took the first steps toward adding "sexual orientation" to the state's law against discrimination. We owe these citizens a tremendous amount of gratitude because it was their first steps that brought us to where we are today...my signing of the Civil Rights Bill into law.

Twenty-nine years: I can't think of any piece of legislation that has taken so long to work its way through the legislature. It makes today especially historic.

Today's victory is all about stopping discrimination. Some will try to cloud the issue, but the issue is clear: When is it okay to discriminate?

As a people, we exhibit different beliefs-we expect as much in a diverse society. But we're all bound by the same social contract; we're all bound by the same expectations and protections of liberty. This is all about why it's wrong to discriminate in employment, insurance, credit, and housing. Period.

It took the tenacity of many people over the course of the last twenty-nine years working on this bill, with even more people joining in the struggle with each passing year.

I am proud that finally, after far too many years, the State of Washington has taken an affirmative stand to say to gay and lesbian individuals, moms and dads, sons and daughters, neighbors, co-workers and friends, living in Washington State that they are, like all other people, free to work in an environment absent discrimination.

After far too many years of "near misses" and "could have beens" the State of Washington is standing strong in its commitment to gay and lesbian citizens that they do have a right to feel safe and free to apply for a mortgage without fear of recrimination; and that they must have the ability to look freely for an apartment to rent without fear of reproach.

There are so many individuals, advocates, and organizations that are responsible for making Washington state an inclusive state that values diversity. To name them would take what would seem like thirty years, but I do want to extend a special thank you to the House and Senate leadership - Speaker Frank Chopp and Majority Leader Lisa Brown for their unwavering commitment and hard work to see this bill move through their respective chambers; and I want to thank and commend those who made this bill's passage a bipartisan effort.

And there are a few people I want to give particular thanks to:

First, Representative Ed Murray, the prime sponsor of the bill. Rep. Murray worked 11 long, hard years to see this day. Ed, on behalf of all the citizens of our great state, thank you, for your perseverance, strength and commitment.

Thank you to Representative Shirley Hankins who was the second sponsor behind Ed on HB 2661. And thank you to Representatives Joe McDermott, Jim Moeller and David Upthegrove for their valiant efforts in this noble cause.

I want to recognize the committee chairs, Rep. Kathy Haigh and Sen. Darlene Fairley for their work in shepherding this bill through the process.

We must not forget the late Senator Cal Anderson. You have heard his name rightly and justly invoked with the Civil Rights Bill. Every year during his service to this state, first as a representative and then as a senator, Cal fought to ban discrimination in the workplace.

I can see a tree growing from my office window that was planted in memory of Senator Anderson after his death in 1995. Under that tree is a plaque that reads: "As a tribute to his integrity, dignity and courage in striving to make all citizens of Washington State equal under the law."

We have the late Dick Hemstad, a great Senate Republican who just passed away, to thank for his support. We have the late Senator and Representative Bud Shinpoch, another early supporter, to thank.

We also have Senator Bill Finkbeiner to thank for this important law.

And we have former State Sen. Pete Francis, the bill's original sponsor 29 years ago, to thank. Please join me in giving a big hand to Pete who joins us today.

I feel incredibly fortunate to be serving in a long line of Governors who have been unwavering in their support: Governors Rosellini, Evans, Spellman, Gardner, Lowry, Locke, all support this legislation. I'm the fortunate one to sign it into law.

Prohibiting discrimination knows no political party. We would not be here today if not for the valiant efforts of members of both chambers - Republicans and Democrats, alike - working together. The Legislature deserves credit for its civility and spirit of respect. This is an emotionally charged issue, and our lawmakers were the model of good behavior. You serve your constituents well and on their behalf I thank you.

In my State of the State address last month, I said that we must see ourselves through history's lens. A generation from now, citizens will wonder what took us so long. They'll see this law for what it is: A natural extension of our values as Washingtonians: The values of fairness, of justice, and of opportunity.

Our laws give us meaning; our laws speak to how we treat our fellow citizens; and our laws reaffirm our principles and reflect the true light of an enlightened society.

Thank you, all. Thank you for being thoughtful, thank you for being committed, and thank you for ensuring that all citizens in the great State of Washington stand equal under the law.

Human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives. - William James

Rest in Peace, Coretta Scott King, 1927-2006

I still hear people say that I should not be talking about the rights of lesbian and gay people and I should stick to the issue of racial justice... But I hasten to remind them that Martin Luther King, Jr., said, 'Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere'.... I appeal to everyone who believes in Martin Luther King, Jr.'s dream to make room at the table of brotherhood and sisterhood for lesbian and gay people. (1)

Gay and lesbian people have families, and their families should have legal protection, whether by marriage or civil union. A constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages is a form of gay bashing, and it would do nothing at all to protect traditional marriages. (2)

"We are all tied together in a single garment of destiny... I can never be what I ought to be until you are allowed to be what you ought to be," she said, quoting from her husband. "I've always felt that homophobic attitudes and policies were unjust and unworthy of a free society and must be opposed by all Americans who believe in democracy." (3)

Gays and lesbians stood up for civil rights in Montgomery, Selma, in Albany, Georgia, and St. Augustine, Florida, and many other campaigns of the Civil Rights Movement. Many of these courageous men and women were fighting for my freedom at a time when they could find few voices for their own, and I salute their contributions. (4)

We have a lot of work to do in our common struggle against bigotry and discrimination. I say 'common struggle,' because I believe very strongly that all forms of bigotry & discrimination are equally wrong and should be opposed by right-thinking Americans everywhere. Freedom from discrimination based on sexual orientation is surely a fundamental human right in any great democracy, as much as freedom from racial, religious, gender, or ethnic discrimination. (5)

We have to launch a campaign against homophobia in the black community. (6)

Homophobia is like racism and anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry in that it seeks to dehumanize a large group of people, to deny their humanity, their dignity and personhood. This sets the stage for further repression and violence that spread all too easily to victimize the next minority group. (7)
All quotes from human rights advocate Dr. Coretta Scott King, April 27, 1927 - Jan. 30, 2006

Thanks to Soulforce for these quotes and sourcing. Soulforce encourages all Americans to both recommit themselves to the ongoing work of the King family and to send their condolences to:

The King Center
449 Auburn Avenue, NE
Atlanta, GA 30312


(1) Coretta Scott King, 25th anniversary luncheon for Lambda Defense and Education Fund, March 31, 1998

(2) Coretta Scott King, speech at The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, USA Today, March 24, 2004

(3) Coretta Scott King, 25th anniversary luncheon for Lambda Defense and Education Fund, quoted in the Chicago Sun Times, April 1, 1998

(4) Coretta Scott King, 25th anniversary luncheon for Lambda Defense and Education Fund, quoted in the Chicago Tribune, April 1, 1998

(5) Coretta Scott King, Opening Plenary Session, 13th annual Creating Change conference of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Atlanta, Georgia, November 9, 2000

(6) Coretta Scott King, Reuters, June 8, 2001

(7) Coretta Scott King, a speech at the Palmer Hilton Hotel, quoted in the Chicago Defender, April 1, 1998

Whenever you are confronted with an opponent, conquer him with love. - Mahatma Gandhi

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Movies! Winter 2006

Finally, after a bit of a drought, I've seen some films. Probably have seen some and neglected writing about them, but there you go. Not all of life fits into the blog! Tonight I finally watched Another Woman (1988), http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0094663/. Gena Rowlands was wonderful, riveting. I had forgotten that it was a Woody Allen film, and it was masterfully done. Anyone approaching a mid-life crisis should see this one, so thoughtfully and artfully done. The supporting cast was uniformly wonderful, too.

In the past couple of days I finally watched Sanjuro (Tsubaki Sanjûrô - 1962): http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0056443/ and Yojimbo (1961): http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0055630/, a pair of films by Akira Kurosawa. Wonderful, just wonderful. The Clint Eastwood film "A Fistful of Dollars" was based on Yojimbo, which is just classic. Sanjuro is fun, with the foolish 9 would-be heroes.

Blue Citrus Hearts (2003), directed and written by my MySpace buddy Morgan Jon Fox from Memphis, Tennessee: http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0398791/. Really AMAZING film shot for no money ($3000, according to IMDb). Filming and color was quirky, sound was uneven, pacing was uneven, but I was riveted. This is what indie film is all about. The "making of" feature on the DVD is a textbook of one way to make indie films. Well worth your money and your time! http://www.bluecitrushearts.com/

The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005): http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0404032/ - Interesting mix of horror and courtroom drama. Excellent cast, art direction and sparing use of special effects. Thought-provoking rather than mindless.

Interesting little film from the DVR; Camp (2003): http://imdb.com/title/tt0342167/. If you like musical theater and drama kids, you'll like this movie.


More later about these and any others I can dredge out of the memory banks.

Brokeback Mountain (2005)

Harry Potter (2005)

Chronicles of Narnia (2005)

The Family Stone (2005)


Saturday, January 21, 2006

How to make a shiny ball out of mud

Dorodango, the latest rage among Japanese preschool through elementary school-age children. Seriously! Short instructions: http://bitsandpieces1.blogspot.com/2006/01/how-to-make-shiny-ball-out-of-mud.html

Much more complete instructions, including short video clips: http://www.kyokyo-u.ac.jp/youkyou/4/english4.htm

They are amazingly beautiful Professor Fumio Kayo of the Kyoto University of Education saw one of these beautiful creations, "and devised a method of making dorodango that could be followed even by children. Once Kayo teaches children how to make these mud balls, they become absorbed in forming a sphere, and they put all their energy into polishing the ball until it sparkles. The dorodango soon becomes the child's greatest treasure." Kayo is a psychologist who researches children's play.


People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing. - Dale Carnegie

Thursday, January 19, 2006

The difference you make, by Jamie

The difference you make

You'll rarely be able to make things perfect. Yet you can always make things better.

You'll never be able to improve the past. Yet you can always improve right now.

Get in the habit of adding value to each moment. And those moments you enhance will soon add value to all that is around you.

Get in the habit of being a positive influence on the people you encounter. And bit by bit, your world will become a more beautiful, loving place.

The difference you make will make a difference for you and all that surrounds you. The love you give adds over and over again to the love with which your life is filled.

Use your time, your energy, your resources and creativity to produce a real and positive difference in life. It is the best investment you can make.

For more of Jamie's great writing, see her profile at: http://www.myspace.com/authenticspirit

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Urge Your Legislators To Take a Stand Against Don't Ask, Don't Tell

From: Jim Maloney
Sent: Tuesday, January 10, 2006 9:12 PM
Subject: Urge Your Elected Officials To Take a Stand Against Dont Ask, Dont Tell

As a new year unfolds, please take a moment to write your elected officials to urge them to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

Only one law in the United States mandates firing someone because of his or her sexual orientation. That law is 10 U.S.C. 654, also known as "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," and it applies to all Americans serving in the U.S. Armed Forces, including active duty, Reserve, and National Guard personnel. Over two million Americans serving in uniform today are bound by this discriminatory law; among them, an estimated 65,000 lesbian, gay and bisexual Americans in uniform live with the constant threat of career-ending discharge under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." This is no way to treat patriotic Americans who volunteer to serve our nation in its time of need.

Over 10,000 Americans have been discharged under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" in the last twelve years - an average of two people per day. This discrimination comes at a cost of over $15 million per year in tax payer dollars, and results in the discharges of linguists, pilots, doctors, intelligence analysts, military police - many with critical skills we need in this time of conflict.

In March of 2005, the historic Military Readiness Enhancement Act (H.R. 1059) was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives. This legislation would repeal the discriminatory "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" statute, and replace it with a non-discrimination law. There is currently no similar legislation before the United States Senate.

1. Urge your Representative to co-sponsor the Military Readiness Enhancement Act!
2. Urge your Senator to support similar legislation in the Senate to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell!"
3. Help SLDN Organize the Grassroots!

1. Urge your Representative to co-sponsor the Military Readiness Enhancement Act!

To find your Representative's name and contact information, click here: http://www.house.gov/

To find out if your Representative is a co-sponsor of the Military Readiness Enhancement Act, click here: http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d109:HR01059:@@@P

A sample letter to urge your Representative to support the Military Readiness Enhancement Act is available online at http://www.sldn.org/templates/action/record.html?section=52&record=1936

If your Representative is already a co-sponsor, please email or write a letter to thank him or her! If your Representative is not a co-sponsor of the Military Readiness Enhancement Act, please urge him or her to become a co-sponsor. A sample letter is available online at http://www.sldn.org/templates/action/record.html?section=52&record=2545

2. Urge your Senator to support legislation in the Senate to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"

Although the Military Readiness Enhancement Act (H.R. 1059) was introduced in the House of Representatives in March of 2005, there is currently no legislation in the Senate to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." Write your Senator and urge him or her to support legislation to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

To find out how to contact your U.S. Senator, click here: http://www.senate.gov/

A Sample Letter to urge your Senator to support legislation to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is available online at http://www.sldn.org/templates/action/record.html?section=52&record=2546

3. Help SLDN Organize the Grassroots!

SLDN is looking for a few good activists! SLDN is in the early stages of launching a grassroots organizing campaign to end "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." We are concentrating our initial efforts in the states of Rhode Island and Maine. If you or someone you know lives in or is registered to vote in Rhode Island or Maine, and would like to lend your voice to the thousands of voices around the country calling for an end to "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," volunteer to be a grassroots activist with SLDN!

Contact Karen Armagost, 202-328-3244 ext 101 or kaa@sldn.org for more information.

As always, thank you so much for your support!
Jim Maloney
Director, Military Education Initiative (MEI)
Phone: 415-370-3313
Fax: 415-437-0401
Email: mei@military-education.org

Nothing but the Truth

The President is merely the most important among a large number of public servants. He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in rendering loyal, able, and disinterested service to the Nation as a whole. Therefore it is absolutely necessary that there should be full liberty to tell the truth about his acts, and this means that it is exactly necessary to blame him when he does wrong as to praise him when he does right. Any other attitude in an American citizen is both base and servile. To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or any one else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about any one else.
- Theodore Roosevelt in the Kansas City Star May 7, 1918

Sunday, January 08, 2006

So What's the Problem?

After more than 50 years in the military and politics, I am still amazed to see how upset people can get over nothing. Lifting the ban on gays in the military isn't exactly nothing, but it's pretty damned close. The conservative movement, to which I subscribe, has as one of its basic tenets the belief that government should stay out of people's private lives. Government governs best when it governs least, and stays out of the impossible task of legislating morality. But legislating someone's version of morality is exactly what we do by perpetuating discrimination against gays.
Sen. Barry Goldwater, a founder of modern conservatism and retired Air Force brigadier general