Here in Washington state we have a kind of schizophrenia in our politics, delineated by the Cascades. On the West side is the blue Washington you all know and love: progressive and multicultural. But on the East side of the mountains, it’s GOP-a-pa-looza. Spokane, the Tri-Cities, Wenatchee… red as a baboon’s back side – and often about as bright as the same.
Some of the state senators on the bab…er, red side have written up a lovely little bill – SB 5927 – that would allow people to discriminate against gays because they sincerely hold the religious belief that Jesus hates the gay. You read that right: the bill would make it lawful for Christians to discriminate against gays. So when Anna Minard of The Stranger wrote about a reader’s experience with one of the bill’s sponsors, it was a real eye-opener.
Jay Castro, the reader, called the office of one of the bills’ sponsors, Sen. Mike Hewitt of Walla Walla, to ask about the senator’s sponsorship of the bill and register his displeasure. He spoke with a young man on Hewitt’s staff and asked him a simple question:
“What are rural gays supposed to do if the only gas station or grocery store for miles won’t sell them gas and food?”
The staffer, obviously unaware of the concept of apartments, told Castro:
“Well, gay people can just grow their own food.”
Um… that’s jaw-droppingly crazy. What kind of person would, in this day and age, expect an entire swath of the state’s population – much of them on the West side – to grow their own food? What about eggs and milk? Are they supposed to keep chickens and a cow in their studio apartment? And why? Because some people want to be able to discriminate against them with impunity. Castro, too, was amazed and asked the staffer for his name. He was then hung up on.
So Ms. Minard decided that she’d try to find out if and why someone in a government office would say something like that to a constituent. She dialed up the senator’s office and spoke with a young man there who, when she asked about the bill, told her to contact the state GOP office.
“Then I asked him about the conversation Castro had just had with someone from that office. Did he have any comment on that? “I don’t know about that,” he said, and hung up the phone. When I called back, someone picked up the phone and then hung it up again. Same thing when I called from another number.” (source)
So she published the office phone number. In The Stranger, Seattle’s number one weekly. I’m pretty sure that staffer has been VERY busy this week. Just wait until next week!
This bill won’t pass. The votes are not there and the senators from the West side will kill it. But it’s indicative of just how far the folks on the East side are willing to go. If you follow the link to the bill’s page you can leave a comment. There is no requirement that you live in Washington to do so. Have at it.
T. Steelman is a life-long Liberal. She has been writing online about politics since 2007. She lives in Western Washington with her husband, daughter, 2 cats and a small herd of alpacas. How can anybody be enlightened? Truth is, after all, so poorly lit…