For 30 years Washington state has had a bill languishing in committee which would protect gay people from discrimination in the workplace, in getting housing, loans, etc. Yesterday, one of my college pals, now our state Minority leader helped defeat the bill. Bill was good guy at Whitman, and when he started in state politics a few years ago he was a Democrat (he switched teams about 10 years ago). Bill even admits “it [discrimination] happens in some occurrences,” but he didn’t take the small step he could have to prevent it. Bill, what are you saying to your gay friends?
Another of our Whitman colleagues, Mark Putnam, captures the disgust I feel best
...while it is unsurprising to me that politicians who are old and really religious, or perhaps closeted themselves, are anti-gay, it's shocking when someone your age, who you went to college with, is in a position of power and is thwarting legislation in your state that is only trying to get equal protection in employment, housing, etc. for people.
Bill, do you really want to be remembered like the congressmen who voted against the 14th amendment (equal protection based on race), against the 15th amendment (right to vote for blacks) or for the Jim Crow laws? A few years from now you will….
Our favorite Time magazine writer, Sandeep Kaushik did an article about Bill on this issue before the vote in the Stranger, as well as a terrific expose of how Microsoft (typically a good supporter of gay rights for employees) abandoned support for the legislation after a local megachurch pastor threatened a boycott of the company.