Monday, February 13, 2012

Name and Shame

On February 1st, 2012, in Olympia, WA, the State Senate voted on SB 6239: Concerning civil marriage and domestic partnerships. This bill, if it becomes law, legalizes gay marriage in the State of Washington.

Michael Baumgartner (R), Randi Becker (R), Don Benton (R), Mike Carrell (R), Jerome Delvin (R), Doug Ericksen (R), James Hargrove (D), Mike Hewitt (R), Janea Holmquist Newbry (R), Jim Honeyford (R), Curtis King (R), Bob Morton (R), Mike Padden (R), Linda Evans Parlette (R), Pam Roach (R), Mark Schoesler (R), Tim Sheldon (D), Paull Shin (D), Val Stevens (R), Dan Swecker (R) and Joseph Zarelli (R) all voted 'Nay.'

They were overruled 28-21 and the bill passed the Senate.

On February 8th, 2012, the bill came to a vote in the WA State House of Representatives. There, John Ahern (R), Gary Alexander (R), Jan Angel (R), Mike Armstrong (R), Katrina Asay (R), Barbara Bailey (R), Vincent Buys (R), Bruce Chandler (R), Cary Condotta (R), Larry Crouse (R), Cathy Dahlquist (R), Bruce Dammeier (R), Richard DeBolt (R), Susan Fagan (R), Larry Haler (R), Mark Hargrove (R), Paul Harris (R), Bill Hinkle (R), Mike Hope (R), Christopher Hurst (D), Norm Johnson (R), Steve Kirby (D), Brad Klippert (R), Joel Kretz (R), Dan Kristiansen (R), Jim McCune (R), Mark Miloscia (D), Terry Nealey (R), Ed Orcutt (R), Jason Overstreet (R), Kevin Parker (R), Kirk Pearson (R), Ann Rivers (R), Jay Rodne (R), Charles Ross (R), Joe Schmick (R), Matt Shea (R), Shelly Short (R), Norma Smith (R), David Taylor (R), Judy Warnick (R), J.T. Wilcox (R), and Hans Zeiger (R) voted 'Nay' on the bill.

They were overruled 55-43 and the bill passed the House. The following day the bill was signed by the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House. It is now on the Governor's desk, awaiting her signature, which she is anticipated to grant today. Once she signs it, it is law, and Washington will become the 7th state in the Union to legalize gay marriage.

The legislators named above are all bigots.

A quick aside for any proudly “politically apathetic” or “fiercely independent” non-voters reading this who have ever claimed that the political parties are the same and it doesn't matter who wins the election: count the R's and D's above. Only 4 of the 28 Senators and 2 of the 55 in the House that voted 'Yea' are Republicans. There is a clear difference between the parties, on this and many other issues. The only way you could come to the conclusion the parties are the same is through willful ignorance, so shut up and let those of us that have informed opinions speak.

I am also sick of hearing that the 6 aisle-crossing Republicans that voted in favor of marriage equality should be praised for their bravery. No they shouldn't. Believing that homosexuals should have the same rights that heterosexuals have is one of the minimum requirements of human decency. By crossing the aisle, they met it. They don't get a tolerance cookie, there is no decency ribbon for good behavior. Their reward for voting 'Yea' is that I'm not going to call them a bigot. Today.

Make no mistake, the people who voted 'Nay' hate homosexuals. I have no doubt that every single one of them would deny it if confronted, and many of them might even believe their own denials. They think they have gay friends who's existence proves their tolerant and accepting nature. These bigots, and those who would defend them from my charges of bigotry, think we live in a world where hatred of homosexuals means gay-bashing. As long as you don't beat them up for being who they are, you don't hate them. Demanding they be fired, spreading lies about them, barring them from military service and voting away their rights is love and acceptance, just don't call them a faggot them and you aren't a bigot.

This is the 21st century; it is not okay to be opposed to gay rights. Do you remember what it was like to learn about slavery in the United States? About the anti-abolitionists and their rhetoric? You remember what you thought about those people. How could they be so stupid? How could they be so wrong about a question with such an obvious right answer? Quite simply, they told themselves that white people's dominion over black people was the natural order of things. It had always been that wayGod endorses it. Does any of this sound familiar?

Eighty years from now when school children are learning about the Gay Rights Movement and the opposition it faced, those children will be just as confused about its opponents as you were about the slave owners. They will consider the opponents of gay marriage stupid for being on the obvious wrong side of an easy moral question. As Judge Walker – presiding over the 9th district court panel that just overturned prop 8 – made clear in his hilarious, scathing ruling, mutterings about tradition and appeals to dictionary definitions  (yes, the defendant literally appealed to the dictionary as part of his case) do not constitute a legal argument, nor even a logical one.

These “arguments” are just the lame rationalizations used by bigots to convince themselves they aren't bigots, and excuse the various ways they are oppressing a minority group. "Family values" and the "sanctity of marriage" are the rhetorical disguises that homophobia wears. The fact that it has to wear a disguise these days is movement in a promising direction. The KKK wears masks for a reason.

Gay rights are human rights. Opposing them is immoral. All of the congressional representatives who voted against marriage equality are bigots; acknowledging or recognizing your own hatred is not a prerequisite to bigotry - that rarely ever happens. Anyone who votes for these representatives in the future is bigoted or ignorant or both. All of their political careers should be over, but I know they won't be. Let's work to make a world where this kind of bigotry is political suicide. Don't forget, we Washingtonians will have our own Prop 8 to shout down. 

There are bill signing parties all overthe Puget Sound region, raising a glass together for equality at 6:00pm. I will be at the party at the Desert Fire in Redmond.

...for ALL!

UPDATE: From the party

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