WATCH: Houston megachurch Pastor Joel Osteen equates being gay to having an addiction

Houston mega-church pastor Joel Osteen spoke to Sally Quinn of the Washington Post  as part of the media tour hyping his new book Everyday a Friday: How to Be Happier 7 Days a Week. Quinn steered the conversation towards Osteen’s recent appearance on Piers Morgan, and his statement that he would attend a same-sex wedding, but not perform one.  Osteen has gotten a lot of flack from the religious right for his willingness to attend attend a “homosexual wedding,” and it must be said that, in the world of mega-church leaders, his position is remarkably tolerant.  Unfortunately, Olsteen’s attempt at a middle-of-the-road response to Quinn’s question quickly steered toward the absurd:

“Somebody that maybe had this certain difficulty now, maybe in five years they’re not if we will love them. You know, I think one of the messages I speak on sometimes is, you know, we can love people back into wholeness. But sometimes we want to beat them down — you got this addiction and you shouldn’t have that, or you did this — I just don’t think that’s the best way.”

Yes, because being LGBT is just like having an addiction. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t hear much of a difference between “love away the gay” and “pray away the gay.”

—  admin

UPDATE: Suspect arrested in D.C. shooting

Police in Washington, D.C., have charged Darryl Willard with “assault with intent to kill while armed,” in connection with the shooting early Monday of a transgender woman in southeast D.C.

Washington, D.C. police are investigating the death of this unidentified person who was found wearing facial make-up and carrying a pair of light-colored heels

According to the Washington Post, after being shot at about 1:50 a.m. in the 2300 block of Savannah Street SE, the victim walked to the Seventh District Police Headquarters to report the crime. The Post reports that the victim knew her attacker and gave his name to police. Willard later turned himself in to authorities.

The victim, who is not named in the newspaper’s article, was taken to the hospital and is expected to recover from her injuries.

In the meantime, police continue to investigate the circumstances surrounding the death of a man whose body was found early Saturday, according to reports by the Associated Press. Police said that when the man’s body was found, he had makeup on his face and had with him a pair of light-colored high-heel shoes. The man appears to be Hispanic or Middle Eastern and between the ages of 25 and 30.

Police said they have no information on whether the dead man was gay or transgender, and that his body showed no signs of trauma.

The Monday shooting was the fourth time in less than two months that a transgender woman has been shot or shot at in the D.C. area. On July 20, Lashai Mclean died after being shot by a man who approached her as she walked with a friend in the city’s Northeast section. The man asked Mclean a question and then pulled a gun and shot her before she could answer, according to the friend, who was uninjured.

Eleven days later and just blocks away from the site of Mclean’s murder, a suspect approached another trans woman, asked for change and then pulled a gun and shot at her before she could answer. The shot missed and the woman was uninjured.

And in August, a D.C. police officer on medical leave was arrested and charged with assault with a deadly weapon after he stood on the hood of a car and fired into the car containing two men and two trans women. One of the men was injured slightly in the attack.

—  admin

Census shows jump in gay couples as push for marriage equality continues in Wash.

MIKE BAKER  |  Associated Press

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Rachel Smith-Mosel and her partner have been married in California, where she was born. And they’ve been married in Canada, where her spouse was born. And they’ve been married at a Jewish summer camp, where they had support of their faith community.

But what the couple really wants is to be officially married in Washington, where they work, live and raise five children.

Smith-Mosel, 38, said the state’s domestic partnership laws are insufficient, failing to provide the couple the proper benefits and protections that come with marriage. She said it’s now time for Washington to follow the lead of states like New York and recognize gay couples in marriage.

“My family needs it yesterday,” said Smith-Mosel, a middle school teacher in Tacoma. “I’m impatient, and I’m tired of waiting.”

The yearning for marriage among gay couples and their supporters has been growing along with their public ranks. New Census data last week illustrates a surge in households led by declared same-sex partners across the state, growing by more than 50 percent and expanding in areas outside of urban centers during the past decade.

• More than 24,000 households in Washington are led by same-sex partners.

• In Jefferson County on the Olympic Peninsula and in San Juan County, comprising most of its namesake islands, more than one out of every 50 couples is same-sex.

• Seattle shows that 3 percent of couples are male partners and more than 2 percent are female partners. The number of same-sex couples in King County grew by 37 percent over the decade, slower than the state as a whole.

• Nearly one-quarter of same-sex couples lead a household with children.

Garfield County in southeastern Washington, the least populous county in the state with 2,266 people, had the lowest number of households led by a same-sex couple — with one.

Activists and lawmakers are currently strategizing how and when to best push the issue. Democratic state Sen. Ed Murray, who has consistently filed bills to approve gay marriages since 1997, said the Senate does not have the votes right now to get it approved in 2012. He hopes that will change and isn’t ruling out success in the coming session of the Legislature.

Murray, who has been with his partner for 20 years as of this coming week, also said supporters need to ensure that the law will stand, even if it faces a referendum challenge. He doesn’t believe it would have survived four years ago, when the domestic partnerships law passed, but he does think things are changing.

“Personally, it gets old. Politically, I think we’re on the right road,” Murray said. “This isn’t going to take many years. It’s going to take a few years.”

Both sides of the gay marriage debate claim that public opinion is on their side.

Gary Randall, president of the Bellevue-based Faith and Freedom Network, said he doesn’t think there’s a race toward gay marriage like supporters of the effort would like people to believe. He also thinks that people who want to keep marriage between one man and one woman will come off the sidelines to voice their opinions.

Randall said groups are also having discussions about the best way to educate the public about their arguments — namely that the Bible doesn’t condone gay marriage and that redefining marriage could eventually lead to condoned polygamy.

“I don’t think they’re ready to approve gay marriage,” Randall said.

Josh Friedes, director of marriage equality at Seattle-based advocacy group Equal Rights Washington, said gay marriage proponents need to focus on increasing social acceptance. That means educating people about the marriage benefits that aren’t extended to domestic partners, such as tax benefits or health insurance coverage. He also wants to demonstrate to the public that it’s a matter of dignity for couples who want the state to recognize their relationships equally.

Smith-Mosel carries around a folder of documents detailing her family’s relationships, worried that during a medical crisis or some other problem they will face questions and lack the same protections as officially recognized spouses.

“Our kids need to feel that our family isn’t just second-class,” Smith-Mosel said. “We’re a married couple, and we want to be treated as such. We deserve to be treated as such.”

—  John Wright

Marriage Equality Bill Introduced in Washington State

SB 5793, a marriage equality bill, was introduced in the Washington state senate today. A matching bill is set to be introduced in the House tomorrow.

From Senator Ed Murray's office:

Murray In early February of 1998, in what has proven to be the darkest of Valentine's for gay and lesbian families in our state, the Legislature enshrined discrimination as the law of the land in Washington by overriding the veto of then-Gov. Gary Locke to approve the so-called "Defense of Marriage Act."

This Valentine’s Day, Rep. Jim Moeller, D-Vancouver, and Sen. Ed Murray, D-Seattle, said the night is darkest just before the dawn.

"Over the past several years, the Legislature and the public together have been steadily building a bridge to equality for gay and lesbian families," said Moeller. He noted the passage of civil rights legislation in 2006 protecting gays and lesbians from discrimination in employment, housing, and financial transactions, and then three successive years of securing broader and broader domestic partnership rights — which included successfully withstanding a hostile referendum challenge at the ballot in 2009.

"We've made tremendous progress since 1998," Murray said. "Gay and lesbian families in Washington now enjoy the same state spousal rights that their married straight friends enjoy – except for the name ‘marriage’. The recognition that their loving, lifelong commitment is no different from the loving, lifelong commitment of straight couples is the final step to achieving full equality. I believe the Legislature and the public are both ready to take that final step."

Under the proposed legislation, religious freedom is protected as is the clergy's right to choose for whom to perform marriage ceremonies. Also, domestic partnerships are maintained.


Towleroad News #gay

—  David Taffet

Washington state legislators send a Valentine to gay and lesbian families

What better day to unveil a marriage equality bill (SB 5793) than Valentine’s Day?

OLYMPIA – Lawmakers have chosen today – the day that millions across the country celebrate the bonds of affection shared between two people in love – as the day to introduce major legislation that would no longer restrict gays and lesbians from their right to marry.

Today is not the first time the issue of marriage equality for gays and lesbians and the Valentine’s Day holiday have crossed paths.

In early February of 1998, in what has proven to be the darkest of Valentine’s for gay and lesbian families in our state, the Legislature enshrined discrimination as the law of the land in Washington by overriding the veto of then-Gov. Gary Locke to approve the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act.”

This Valentine’s Day, Rep. Jim Moeller, D-Vancouver, and Sen. Ed Murray, D-Seattle, said the night is darkest just before the dawn.

“Over the past several years, the Legislature and the public together have been steadily building a bridge to equality for gay and lesbian families,” said Moeller. He noted the passage of civil rights legislation in 2006 protecting gays and lesbians from discrimination in employment, housing, and financial transactions, and then three successive years of securing broader and broader domestic partnership rights — which included successfully withstanding a hostile referendum challenge at the ballot in 2009.

“We’ve made tremendous progress since 1998,” Murray said. “Gay and lesbian families in Washington now enjoy the same state spousal rights that their married straight friends enjoy – except for the name ‘marriage’. The recognition that their loving, lifelong commitment is no different from the loving, lifelong commitment of straight couples is the final step to achieving full equality. I believe the Legislature and the public are both ready to take that final step.”

Please sign the Marriage Equality petition today and ask friends to do the same.
The pro-equality vote in Washington state has been rising steadily for the past five years.  With a concerted effort, we can put the numbers over the top in 2012.  Recall that in 2009 the Washington electorate was the first in the nation to ratify a same-sex relationship recognition law at the polls, 52.6% to 27.4%.

As Equal Rights Washington reminds us, “The most important thing you can do in support of marriage equality is to talk to your friends, family, neighbors and coworkers about why marriage equality matters to you and people you love. Nothing is more powerful than personal stories.  So let’s keep the conversation going.”

Another way to “get engaged” and help make marriage equality a reality in Washington state by participating in the Equality Day 2011 in Olympia on March 22, 2011.

Equality Day 2011 is your opportunity to engage with your legislators in person. On March 22 you can educate your legislators about your lives. Tell them how the decisions they make help you contribute fully as a member of the community, promote your freedom to love who you love, and live healthy productive lives.  We have many opportunities this year to support our families by creating protections for children and parents in the Uniform Parentage Act, creating a safe and supportive educational environment for our students, promoting awareness of HIV/AIDS and good public health, and making progress toward marriage equality.

Your legislators have their hands on the levers of power, but they need your help to know which way to pull them.

Help Spread the Word! Print and Post an Equality Day 2011 flyer on bulletin boards inside LGBT friendly establishments in your community.

Click here for more information on Equality Day 2011.
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  David Taffet

George Washington University Adds Gender-Neutral Housing Option

Last week, George Washington University approved a student proposal to allow students to choose roommates they feel most comfortable with and get along with the best – regardless of gender. Gender-neutral housing, as it is commonly called, will be available to all students in all but the three female-only dorms on its campus starting next fall.

GWU joins around 50 other colleges and universities across the country with similar expanded housing options, but is somewhat unique in terms of the expansiveness of its new policy. For example, Princeton University’s pilot of the option began this fall, but was limited to upperclass undergraduates in apartment-style dorms. Similarly, Columbia University restricted its new policy to sophomore, junior and senior students. GWU should be commended for its leadership in ensuring all of its students are able to feel comfortable in their living situations.

As a GWU alumnus, I had the opportunity to discuss my personal experience with the review committee evaluating the proposal. Like many queer students, I finally came out to my friends and family while at college. It was definitely a process though, and while at school students should be focused on learning, not worried about potential harassment or feel forced to hide their sexuality or gender identity from their roommates.

Schools with gender-neutral housing policies typically report that the percentage of students who take advantage of them is low and these policies serve as a sign of the campus’ commitment to being welcoming and inclusive. These are the type of indicators high school seniors look to when trying to figure out which school is right for them. I’m proud that since my graduation, my alma mater has continued its efforts to support LGBT students by opening a resource center, adding gender identity to its non-discrimination policy, starting an LGBT studies minor and now offering gender-neutral housing.

Of course, none of these changes would have happened without the tireless advocacy by students, faculty and staff who recognized the importance of these changes. Check out HRC’s youth and campus outreach program to learn more about campus activism, whether you want to form an LGBT student group or trade tips with students at campuses across the county.


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  admin

Pro-equality Republicans get re-elected in Washington state

Rep. Maureen Walsh
Rep. Norm Johnson

Rep. Maureen Walsh (R-Walla Walla) and Rep. Norm Johnson (R-Yakima) were heavily criticized by some in their own party for their votes last year in support of the Domestic Partnership Expansion Law of 2009 (SB 5866 & HB 1727).  Yet despite the best efforts of anti-gay activists in the GOP and tea party, both pro-equality Republican incumbents were re-elected to the Washington state legislature.

In response to Walsh’s 2009 vote for the domestic partnership bill, the Franklin Co. Republicans censured her, saying “Representative Maureen Walsh does not represent the values of the Franklin County Republican Party.”  But voters sent a strong message that it was the Franklin Co. Republicans who didn’t represent their values, re-electing Rep. Walsh by a landslide, 77.6% to 22.4%.  The censure had been penned by Brenda High, who would become Rep. Walsh’s rival in the election.

Rep. Johnson faced similar criticism for his pro-equality vote.  His Republican challenger Michele Strobel stated as much when she announced her candidacy, saying “It was a slap in the face to Christians.  It was a slap in the face to traditional values.”  Although Strobel kept Rep. Johnson’s pro-equality vote in the news and even targeted him with a nasty anti-gay newspaper ad, Rep. Johnson won handily 52.5% to 47.5%.

Voter turnout for this election was 71.18%, the highest for a mid-term election in Washington since 1970.  Nobody can claim that the people in Rep. Walsh’s and Rep. Johnson’s districts haven’t spoken.

The odds of Walsh and Johnson getting re-elected must have looked long to their challengers.  After all, their legislative districts are both solidly Republican, with Republicans holding all seats in the state legislature and U.S. House of Representatives.  In addition, over 60% of voters in both districts bucked the statewide trend and rejected Referendum 71, the 2009 ballot measure asking voters to approve or reject the domestic partnership law that Walsh and Johnson had voted for.  Indeed, both Walsh’s and Johnson’s challengers used those statistics to imply that they were more in-tune with the local electorate than were Walsh and Johnson.  So what happened?
I asked Josh Friedes, Executive Director of Equal Rights Washington why Rep. Walsh and Rep. Johnson were so successful in getting reelected.

I think these election results demonstrate conclusively that when incumbents take principled positions in support of LGBT civil rights, voters will return these candidates to office.

In the 2010 election cycle attempts by the radical-right to use LGBT rights as a wedge issue backfired time and again.  Senators Rodney Tom and Steve Hobbs are in swing districts and I think their principled supports of LGBT rights has motivated the progressive base in their districts while impressing all voters because they are willing to stand up for their beliefs in civil rights.

Perhaps this election year’s biggest upset was the election of Charlie Wiggins as Supreme Court Justice.  This race shows that taking a strong anti-gay position in statewide races is a detriment.

U.S. Senator Patty Murray received strong support from the LGBT community as well and was returned to office in an anti-incumbent year in part because her challenger opposed LGBT civil rights.  For so many voters in Washington state today that’s simply a deal breaker.

Rep. Walsh and Rep. Johnson certainly did take principled stands.  Responding to criticism of her pro-equality vote Rep. Walsh said:

“I have always felt to do anything different was discrimination,” Walsh said. “It’s not my place to say who loves whom. It seems to me God is the ultimate judge, but it’s not for me to be making those calls about who should have the same rights I have as a citizen of this country.” …

“I have to be true to myself,” she said. “If I did not do that, I would be a hypocrite. I could not continue to represent my district if I had to compromise my beliefs and morals.”

Rep. Johnson, the father of two gay sons, took an equally principled stand on his vote.

I feel I voted the right way, because to me it was pure and simple a vote of equality.”

In contrast, Brenda High and Michele Strobel took the mean-spirited low road.  “She says she’s a Republican and I don’t think she is,” said High of Walsh during the campaign.  The Tri-City Herald said that Brenda High “is best known for advocating for anti-bullying legislation in states across the country after her son committed suicide in 1998 as a result of being bullied.”  Yet she answered equality-related questions on a candidate survey like a virulently anti-gay bully.

7. Domestic Partnerships: Granting same-sex partners the equivalent rights and benefits of marriage.

Oppose

The law of our Creator defined marriage as the union between a man and a woman.  I oppose any legal recognition of homosexual unions and oppose efforts to legalize adoption of children by homosexual singles or couples.

It’s worth noting that Washington State HB 1727 was co-sponsored by 55 Democrats and 2 Republicans, one of which was Maureen Walsh, of whom I’m running against.  HB 1727 is a bill designed to expand domestic partnerships, and “everything but marriage” law.  Part of the language that this bill specifically mentions, is that the terms, “husband and wife” shall be construed to be gender neutral, (pg 109 HB1727), this makes every married individual, “partners” with their husband or wife, I mean, partner.

8. Marriage: Redefine marriage to include same-sex couples.

Oppose

The marriage covenant is the foundation of the family, and the family is fundamental in the maintenance of a stable, healthy and prosperous social order.

The Franklin County Republicans who High penned the censure of Rep. Walsh for has links on its main web page to the anti-LGBT organizations Family Policy Institute of Washington, Family Research Council and the John Birch Society.  Family Research Council has been designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Friedes is right.  For so many voters in Washington state today a strong anti-LGBT position is simply a deal breaker whereas a principled, fair-minded position is a winner.
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin

Sarah Palin’s endorsement worth squat in Washington. How about in your state?

Map last updated Nov. 3rd. I re-colored the WA figures to reflect outcomes as of Nov. 12th.

Sarah Palin really bombed in Washington state.  Palin endorsed Clint Didier for Senate and John Koster and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers for House, according to Washington Post‘s Palin endorsement tracker (pictured right).  Didier lost in the primaries, Koster lost in the general and McMorris Rodgers was a shoe-in regardless.

There’s no doubt that some of the Republicans newly-elected to the House of Representatives were endorsed by Sarah Palin.  But in how many races was her endorsement actually meaningful?  I wonder how many times Palin stacked her “success” deck by endorsing sure-winners like Washington’s Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers.  

From what I can tell, the candidates that Palin endorsed in Washington all won or lost independent of her endorsement.  Below the fold are some details on the three of them.

What about in your state?  Did Palin wave a magic tea bag and influence the outcome, or was she a lot of sound and fury, signifying nothing?
Clint Didier (U.S. Senate challenger)

Washington Redskins tight end turned eastern Washington alfalfa farmer and tea party darling, Clint Didier was the first candidate in Washington to be endorsed by Sarah Palin.  In a publicity stunt, Palin summoned Didier away from potential supporters at the Washington State Republican conference back across the state to Richland for a meeting.  “All geared up for the convention. Then I got the call from Sarah,” he tweeted.

Palin’s endorsement probably didn’t hurt Didier’s tea party credibility, but it couldn’t counterbalance serious credibility flaws in the candidate like this:

Despite his fierce anti-government rhetoric, Didier’s 1000-acre Pasco farm has benefited from direct federal crop subsidies, as well as government-subsidized irrigation water. See my article on that from earlier this week.

Other embarrassments included Didier’s participation one week before the primary in a smear campaign aimed at Dino Rossi, Didier’s major Republican opponent.  A proxy war, the smear campaign was conducted by fixtures of Washington’s radical-right, Sen. Val Stevens and Pastor Joe Fuiten.  Stevens endorsed Didier, Fuiten endorsed Rossi.  Beginning with an open letter from Stevens, the Didier camp alleged that Rossi wasn’t anti-choice enough.  The unseemly sight of “pro-life” advocates turning the fetus into a political football earned the Didier campaign criticism from other conservatives.

Didier came in 3rd in the primary with only 12.8% of the vote.  Dino Rossi would go on to challenge Senator Patty Murray in the general election.

After getting routed in the primary, Didier held hostage his own endorsement of Dino Rossi, conditioning it on Rossi agreeing to pledge.

Didier said he wants Rossi to sign a pledge that he won’t raise taxes, to promise to vote against any plan to increase federal spending, and to personally sponsor the Sanctity of Life Act, a measure that would attempt to ban the U.S. Supreme Court from ruling state abortion restrictions unconstitutional.

Didier quickly became a laughingstock.

[Former state Republican Party Chairman Chris] Vance said Didier, as a political newcomer, didn’t realize how politics should be played. For example, he noted that once Didier made his demands public, Rossi would only seem weak if he agreed to them.

“I would not be so arrogant to give Clint Didier advice on how to block an outside linebacker, but he’s brand new to politics and he doesn’t know how things work,” Vance said.

John Koster (WA-2 House Challenger)

Arch-conservative” is the term that usually comes to mind when describing John Koster.  After the 2010 election, perhaps “law-breaker” and “debate-ducker” will be used as well.  Late in October Publicola reported

…Koster has been accepting illegal corporate campaign contributions. The Federal Election Commission wrote Koster an angry letter back in September, demanding he return all the campaign contributions he received from corporations during the July expenditure reporting period. (Corporations are prohibited from giving money directly to federal political campaigns). …

This quarter’s reports have just been filed, and we checked them today to see if he’d returned the money. Nope. In fact, it looks to us as if Koster is still taking contributions from corporations. Silvergate Farms LLC, Quantum Construction Inc, and Boyden Robinett Association all sound like contributors that are sure to raise flags with the FEC.

On the matter of ducking debates, by the time Koster had backed out last minute of an October 21st televised debate, he’d already ducked three previous public fora.  The press was particularly mystified over Koster’s October 21 cancellation since the reason given by his campaign was that Koster didn’t “like one of the proposed debate panelists, a reporter who works for a newspaper that endorsed him.”.  Poor performance in public debates and interviews was widely recognized to be an Achilles heel for Koster’s big endorser, Sarah Palin.  Indeed, The Stranger‘s Eli Sanders postulated that Koster was avoiding televised debates because his campaign realized that he came across as angry and extreme on television.  The best bet was to just stay out of the spotlight and try to ride the anti-incumbent wave.

Although the 2010 election result wont be officially certified until November 22nd, as of Nov. 12th Koster was trailing Rep. Rick Larsen 48.9% to 51.1% and has conceded.  A few days previously, as Koster’s election-night lead began slipping away, Koster’s campaign manager Larry Stickney “implied Democrats might try to steal the election.”

Though John Koster remains in a position to win, we are keenly aware that there are those who will do everything they can to keep this seat out of the hands of the new House majority,” Koster’s campaign manager Larry Stickney said in a statement.

Larry Stickney also managed Koster’s 2000 bid for the same seat which he also lost to Rick Larsen.

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-5, WA)

Cathy McMorris Rodgers is a 3-term Republican incumbent in a heavily Republican district covering half of eastern Washington.  Running for re-election against a little-known Democrat, McMorris Rodgers was heavily favored to win re-election before Palin’s endorsement, and did so easily.  Palin’s endorsement was entirely superfluous.
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin

By and large, I’m happy with Washington State

I live in one of the most securely Democratic Congressional districts in the country, District 7 represented by Jim McDermott.

My state legislative district, 43, is represented by two openly gay men, Ed Murray in the Senate and Jamie Pedersen in the House (our other representative, Frank Chopp, is Speaker of the House.) Only Chopp drew any kind of opposition; Murray and Pedersen sailed through both the primary and the general election unopposed.

In 2008, the Washington Legislature had six openly gay members including Rep. Marko Liias (D-21), Rep. Dave Upthegrove (D-33), Rep. Jim Moeller (D-49) and Sen. Joe McDermott (D-34); the five who stood for re-election (all but McDermott, whose term ends in 2012) will be returning to office along with a new member of the caucus: Laurie Jinkins (D-27) (mentioned here at PHB. Congradulations, Laurie!)

(Correction: Joe McDermott withdrew from the state Senate to run for the King County Council, District 8. He won that seat by a comfortable margin, so the gay caucus in the Legislature remains at six with the addition of Jinkins.)

Our Senate race for the other Washington is a bit of a squeaker, with Democrat Patty Murray currently leading Republican and perennial loser Dino Rossi by only a few votes: both are now listed as 50% with Murray holding a 4,000 vote lead. For all my griping, I did vote for her rather than writing someone else in. Wow, my vote might actually mean something.
Most of our incumbent Congresscritters are on their way to re-election. The only exception is District 2, between incumbent Democrat Rick Larsen and Republican challenger John Koster. Right now both are listed with 50%, with Koster holding a lead of about 400 votes.

The state initiatives are what I would have expected. We foolishly passed I-1053, which will require a 2/3 supermajority in both houses to pass any tax increases. We tried this before, and it was struck down by the state Supreme Court: our constitution allows the Legislature to pass all bills by a simple majority, and the constitution cannot be amended by initiative. Still, it will take time and money for this to get overturned, and it will end up further polarizing our conservative extremists.

The only other initiative result that I find disappointing is I-1098, which would have cut state property taxes, increased a credit that allows businesses to deduct federal taxes from their state Business and Occupation tax, and impose a small income tax on persons with an adjusted gross income of 0,000 individual or 0,000 joint. Meaning that Washington retains one of the most regressive taxing systems in the country.
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin

Washington Senate Republicans show how low you can go in a homophobic attack ad on Sen. Rodeny Tom

Talk about dirty low down.  The Washington Senate Republicans have no legitimate grounds to criticize Senator Rodney Tom (D-48, Bellevue), so they dropped a lie-infested mailer into the district too late for the traditional press to have time to react.  The ad equates Tom’s support of LGBT equality with being anti-woman.  This is laughable.  Sen. Tom has been a solid supporter of women’s rights and reproductive freedom.

Sen. Tom was a member of the republican party until about 4 years ago, but crossed the isle because of the GOP’s unrelenting gay bashing.  

Take a look as the tripe the Senate Republicans have spewed out.  I’m thinking it’s so over the top that it’ll backfire.  The voters of the 48th legislative district aren’t stupid.

End No-foult divorce.

Repeal Custody rights.

No more community property.

Rodney Tom has an agenda.

He recently revealed he wants to abolish women’s legal protections for child custody, community property and support.

You Can’t Count on RODNEY TOM

Rodney Tom, stop lashing out.

Your treatment of your women colleagues was shameful and now you’re cutting programs of vital concern to women, including breast and cervical cancer screening.  Your rhetoric shows a disregard for those less fortunate than you.

“He is obviously a very conflicted individual.”

— Sen. Margarita Prentice (D-Renton)

Tye Seattle Times, 3/13/2010

In the midst of the worst budgetary crisis our state has faced in 65 years, Rodney Tom is cutting women’s programs and speaking against women’s rights.

“The state should get out of the marriage business,” Tom said – leaving women without legal protections.

Before Nov. 2, vote “No” on Tom and his agenda.

I spoke with Senator Tom this morning and his response was strong and unequivocal:

It is a sad new low in Washington politics when you equate marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples with heterosexual couples losing the right to no-fault divorce and community property rights – it’s a complete lie.

It is despicable that [the Washington Senate Republicans] did this on the last day so that the press can’t take them to task.  I know in their hearts they knew that it was wrong.  If it were a legitimate hit they would have done it early in campaign.  Now there is no way that the Seattle Times can do a print piece about it.  This was surly intentional.

It is sad that politics has to get down to that level.  I think this does show the extreme nature of the Republican party.  No matter how they try to dress themselves up as moderate they still have extreme views on LGBT rights.  And this is coming from from someone who until 4 yrs ago was in the Republican Party.  The number one reason I left the party was because they’re so extreme on social issues.  Karl Rove has taken over and they no longer care about what’s right, decent or ethical, just about winning elections.

Update: Statement from Joshua Friedes, Executive Director of Equal Rights Washington is below. Other press releases will be added as they arrive.
According to Publicola, the mailer falsely quotes an interview they did with Sen. Tom.

In spooky bold font, the Republican ad blares: “End no-fault divorce. Repeal custody rights. No more community property. Rodney Tom has an agenda. He recently revealed he wants to abolish women’s legal protections for child custody, community property, and support.”

Their cite for the claim about Tom’s agenda? PubliCola.

And on the flip side of the mailer, the piece does quote a PubliCola interview with Sen. Tom:

“‘The state should get out of the marriage business,’ Tom said leaving women without legal protections.”

However, PubliCola never said anything about “leaving women without legal protections.” In fact, we’ve reported on Tom as a strong women’s advocate. He sponsored legislation that would make “Emergency Pregnancy Centers”-bait and switch anti-choice facilities-reveal what services they actually provide.

Here’s what we wrote:

Earlier this week, Republican state candidate Gregg Bennett told us he supports gay marriage. Bennett is an Eastside investor who’s running against incumbent Democratic state Sen. Rodney Tom (D-48, Medina).

Today, we asked Tom where he was on gay marriage. He told us, “the state should get out of the marriage business. A lot of countries in Europe do this. I have no issue with gay marriage. I think straight couples or gay and lesbian couples should all be treated equal and should get civil unions. Marriage should be between individuals and their church.”

Publicola goes on to relay this spot-on comment Chris Gregorich of the Senate Democratic Campaign Committee:

“This is the most nonsensical political ad of the entire election cycle and it’s very telling that the Republican leadership would release it a day before election day. If such a blatantly homophobic and embarrassing ad were sent out any earlier, there would be a media firestorm in response. They are so desperate for a majority, they are willing to use hate, intolerance, and misinformation to mislead Washington voters.”

Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice Washington have also strongly decried the ad, summarize his excellent legislative record and reiterate their solid support for Sen. Tom.

Planned Parenthood press release

November 2, 2010                                                                           Dana Laurent, Political Director

Planned Parenthood VOTES! Washington

cell (206) 913-8125

Elaine Rose, CEO

Planned Parenthood VOTES! Washington

(206) 328-7735 / cell (206) 794-9550

FALSE ATTACKS AGAINST RODNEY TOM DEGRADE IMPORTANT WOMEN’S ISSUES

“A recent mailer suggesting that Rodney Tom is unsupportive of women is preposterous, irresponsible and completely out-of-touch with reality,” said Elaine Rose, CEO, Planned Parenthood Votes! Washington.

Planned Parenthood Votes! Washington endorsed Rodney Tom for State Senator again this year because he has not only been a supporter of women’s access to reproductive health services and information, he’s been a champion.

Rodney Tom was the prime Senate sponsor of the Healthy Youth Act of 2007 which helps ensure that young people in our state get accurate, comprehensive health information including resources about how to prevent unintended pregnancies, stay safe in relationships, and recognize dating violence. Tom has also continually supported funding for family planning services which help women get vital health services like birth control, and breast and cervical cancer screenings.

Women deserve to know the truth. As an organization dedicated to protecting the health and rights of women in our state, we know that Rodney Tom has been there for women every step of the way. The accusations in the mailer are completely false and represent a disturbing low in political attacks. It’s time to stop using women’s rights as a political football.

Background: The mailer was funded by the Leadership Council, the soft-dollar PAC for the Senate Republican Campaign Committee.

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Planned Parenthood Votes! Washington (PPVW) is an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization educating Washingtonians and policy-makers about reproductive health issues.

VOTES! lobbies and educates to advance Planned Parenthood’s mission and also engages in limited electoral activities.

NARAL Pro-Choice Washington

Outrageous 11th Hour Attack Against Pro-Choice State Senator Rodney Tom

Posted: 11/02/2010

Senate Republicans Send Out a Homophobic Mailer that Lies About Senator Tom’s Support for Women’s Health and Rights

In a last-ditch attempt to win the 48th legislative district Senate seat, Senate Republicans sent a mail piece that hit mailboxes yesterday making the outrageous allegation equating Senator Rodney Tom’s support for marriage equality with a supposed lack of support for women’s rights and health.

Nothing could be further from the truth.  “Senator Tom is a strong and vocal advocate for the right to choose and for access to reproductive health care,” said Lauren Simonds, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Washington.  “In fact, at a voter forum last month, Senator Tom reiterated his support for maintaining critical funding for family planning care, even in a time of state budget cuts.”

“This mail piece is deceptive on all fronts,” Simonds added.  “It completely misrepresents not only Senator Tom’s steadfast support for women’s health care and women’s rights, but it uses his support for marriage equality to make a baseless allegation.”

“This mail piece is simply irresponsible,” Simonds said.

Download the mail piece here and here.

As part of its statewide pro-choice voter mobilization program, NARAL Pro-Choice Washington volunteers have contacted thousands of pro-choice voters in the 48th legislative district through phone banking and canvassing in support of Senator Tom’s re-election.

NARAL Pro-Choice Washington is the leading grassroots pro-choice advocacy organization in Washington state.  NARAL Pro-Choice Washington’s mission is to protect the full range of reproductive health options, including preventing unintended pregnancy, bearing healthy children, and choosing legal abortion. NARAL Pro-Choice Washington is the state affiliate of NARAL Pro-Choice America.

Statement from Joshua Friedes, Executive Director of Equal Rights Washington

Rodney Tom has championed basic civil rights for Washington’s gay and lesbian families. Nothing should anger fair minded voters more than when people attack a legislator by telling voters that a legislators support for gay rights will hurt women. It’s the most absurd claim out there and it is a blatant lie. But this is exactly the attack being levied against State Senator Rodney Tom in the 48th district. And of course Tom’s opponents know that their mailer is false, that’s why they waited until the last minute so that the pro-choice community and gay rights community, which overlap considerably, would not have time to respond. But voters in the 48th can respond by reminding each other of the importance for voting for Rodney Tom.

The content of the mailer itself ironically demonstrates the support that exists in the 48th for LGBT civil rights. Years ago hatemongers could argue with some degree of success that one should not support a candidate because they support gay rights. Times have changed and today the majority of voters in Washington State support gay rights. As a result, the arguments used by the right are changing. The right today is trying to make ridiculous claims that supporting gay rights will hurt women or other historically discriminated against groups. What the right doesn’t want the people of the 48th district to know is that last year it was the prochoice community, and over 30 organizations representing communities of color who helped propel referendum 71 to victory. Referendum 71 upheld the states domestic partnership law. A law Rodney Tom supported, a law supported by the people of the 48th.



Joshua A. Friedes

Executive Director

Equal Rights Washington

Cross-posted at Washblog.
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