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


“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.


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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