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Anti-gay zealots poised to win big in Washington if progressives don’t wake up

Last year Washington became the first state whose electorate ratified an LGBT family recognition law at the polls.  Today it is on the brink of becoming the first state to trash the truism that pro-equality legislators don’t lose their seats.

Support Rep. John Driscoll

In 2008 in Spokane (LD-6), pro-equality democrat John Driscoll beat anti-gay John Ahern by only 74 votes.  Ahern is poised to grab his seat back from Driscoll in the 2010 General election.  In the recently completed 2010 primary, conservatives cast 23,000 votes and progressives less than 16,000 votes.  Rep. Driscoll voted… And check out the pictures of OutSpokane that Rep. Driscoll posted on his campaign website.  In contrast, here’s what Ahern said in the run up to the 2008 election:

A gay act is an abomination, number one,” Ahern said when asked why he doesn’t support same-sex marriage. “And number two is the fact that it goes against all major religions, Christian, Catholic, Jewish and, also, Islam.”

 During hearings for the first domestic partnership expansion bill, then-Rep. Ahern asked this (time stamp 51:35):

I’m just wondering, do we have a mechanism set up whereby somebody from the state or a county or wherever would be checking out each on of the domestic partner to make absolutely certain that they really do have a domestic partner?  Give you an example: if my wife weren’t here today, if she passed away, I could claim possibly Tanna as my domestic partner.  Turns out Tanna happens to be my female dog.  And I would be collecting dollars from that.  Now do we have a mechanism whereby the state would come by and check me to make sure that I do have a true domestic partner and not a dog? …

I’m just kind of worried about whether there could be some individuals out there scamming the system and that they’re actually claiming their dog as a domestic partner, or just a, you know, a figment of their imagination, just whatever.  So do we have a Gestapo situation?

Ahern is one of the few candidates boldly acknowledging the endorsements of Referendum 71 sponsors Gary Randall (Faith & Freedom PAC) and Larry Stickney (Washington Values Alliance).  Ahern has also received money from Faith & Freedom PAC.

Ahern and others like him will win in November if progressives don’t actively support the pro-equality candidates like Driscoll with the tools they need to motivate their base.  Driscoll has taken courageous votes to support us.  It is time to return the favor.  Personally, I want to keep moving forward towards marriage equality.  That goal can only be reached by maintaining a pro-equality majority in the legislature.  We snooze, we lose.

Details on a few of other endangered pro-equality candidates, and the anti-gay zealots poised to beat them, after the fold.

Support Rep. Norm Johnson

LD-14 (Yakima) Rep. Norm Johnson & Michele Strobel

Incumbent Rep. Norm Johnson is a republican who voted for domestic partnerships and for the inclusion of gender identity in Washington’s hate crimes laws.  His challenger, republican Michele Strobel, defined herself as a one-issue anti-gay zealot by giving as her reason for running:

“[Rep. Johnson’s domestic partnerships vote] was a slap in the face to Christians,” Strobel said. “It was a slap in the face to traditional values.”

Strobel gratfully accepted Larry Stickney’s endorsement at a tea party event this winter but doesn’t admit this on her website.  She also fails to mention her endorsement by Gary Randall, who gave her money from his Faith & Freedom PAC.  Stickney and Randall, you will recall, were the backers of the 2009 anti-domestic partnership Referendum 71.  Strobel’s campaign has also received donations from “The Tea Party” (also known as Remember Us We the People) in Ellensburg and from Yakima Freedom Partners, a coalition of tea party groups.

Although Johnson won the 3-way primary, only 2,000 votes separated Johnson and Strobel in a primary with less than 38% voter participation.  Without gotv resources, Johnson could lose the general election.

Support Rep. Dawn Morrell

LD-25 (Puyallup, Summit) Rep. Dawn Morrell & Hanz Zeiger

Dawn Morrell is a solid democrat who has voted for Washington’s inclusive anti-discrimination law, for domestic partnerships and for the inclusion of gender identity in Washington’s hate crimes laws.  Goldy at HorsesAss fills us in on the Christianist, anti-gay zealotry of her November opponent, Hans Zeiger.  The quotes are from just a few of his WorldNetDaily rants:

Unitarians, mainstream Baptists, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, members of the “Military Pagan Network” and other watered-down ecumenists will hold an “Interfaith Day of Prayer and Reflection” on the steps of the Oklahoma State Capitol today to pray to the generic god.

But … the significant difference between the kumbaya sessions and interfaith vigils and atheist protests of the Religious Left and the Bible studies and prayer circles of the Religious Right is that our God is real.

Next month, the Girl Scouts USA national convention will be held in Atlanta. It will be a gathering of radical feminists, lesbians, and cookie peddlers… During the last couple years, it has become clear that the Girl Scouts – nationally and, in many cases, locally – is allied with the abortion industry and Planned Parenthood… The Girl Scouts is almost as much a part of the radical feminist movement  as the National Organization for Women. Knowing the radical agenda of the national Girl Scouts organization, parents need to take action.

Click over to HorsesAss for much more.

Rep. Dawn Morrell came out on top in the 6-way primary, but democrats cast only 11,500 votes total in that race while conservatives cast 14,000.  Rep. Morrell needs our help motivating pro-equality voters.

Support Rep. Troy Kelley

LD-28 (West Tacoma, Lakewood, University Place) Rep. Troy Kelley & Steve O’Ban

You may recognize the names; I’ve written about Rep. Kelley & Steve O’Ban before.  Rep. Troy Kelley is a solid democrat who has always voted pro-equality, voting for domestic partnerships and for the inclusion of gender identity in Washington’s hate crimes laws.

O’Ban was a spokesperson in 2009 for Larry Stickney’s anti-domestic partnership Reject Referendum 71 campaign.  He is perhaps best known as the lawyer who defended Washington’s so-called Defense of Marriage Act before the state supreme court.  O’Ban said at the time:

This case is really about state recognition of same-sex relationships being the equivalent of heterosexual relationships.  My own personal views certainly line up with my clients.’

Rep. Kelley and O’Ban were the only contenders in the primary.  Although Kelley came out ahead, only 124 more fair-minded voters than conservatives cast ballots.  Rep Kelley needs and deserves our help.

Support Rep. Marko Liias

LD-21 (Edmunds) Rep. Marko Liias & Elizabeth Scott

Elizabeth Scott has been endorsed by a who’s who of The Virulently Anti-Gay of Washington, including: former Rep. John Koster, a co-sponsor of state DOMA; Rep. Matt Shea, a primary sponsor of the Reject R-71 campaign to repeal the domestic partnership law; Sen. Val Stevens, a co-sponsor of state DOMA and other anti-gay attack legislation, and a primary sponsor of Reject R-71

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Laurel Ramseyer

Laurel Ramseyer