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March 3, 2006
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Volume 34
Issue 09
 
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Thursday, Apr 24, 2014

 

 



IN THEIR OWN WORDS:
IN THEIR OWN WORDS:
Seattle City Councilmembers Jean Godden and David Della



[Editor's Note: In Their Own Words is a new column where individuals and community organizations will tell the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community what they will do to defeat Tim Eyman's anti-Gay referendum and/or initiative.]

JEAN GODDEN

The State Legislature finally passed a bill in January adding sexual orientation to the anti-discrimination law. Thus, after three decades of struggle, sexual orientation has now joined the list of such classifications as race, sex and religion that are protected against discrimination in employment and housing.

There were celebrations across the state. And it was a splendid moment when all people in this state achieved equal rights. But it is galling to think that it took so many years to attain this basic guarantee. Washington has no bragging rights to leadership; 17 other states were there first, offering protection to all its citizens.

More shameful still, it took only days before ex-watch salesman Tim Eyman, who now earns his living by pandering to greed, ignorance and prejudice, filed a referendum to undo the law. Then he filed an initiative prohibiting state government from according special treatment to anyone "based on sexual orientation or sexual preference." He argued that the issue ought to be decided by voters and that the protection amounted to "special treatment" to Gays.

What a sad day. And what a sadder day it will be if these measures go to the ballot. Justice has been delayed and denied for too long. To leave these matters to the ballot - protections for minorities - is wrong in a nation that prizes its liberties. It's no secret that the First Amendment to the U. S. Constitution would probably do badly if submitted to a vote of the people. Our rights, derived after many years of struggles, depend upon the protection of minorities, protection of the less powerful, protection of people outside and within the mainstream, whatever that is.

And liberty is what it's really about. I recently read an article in the New York Times Magazine written by Kenji Yoshino, a Yale Law School professor who taught classes on Gay rights. He phrased it well. He said, "The only right I have wanted with any consistency is the freedom to be who I am." That's what each and every one of us - perhaps contradictory, certainly complex individuals - want for ourselves and, it is hoped, for our fellow citizens.

Feeling this way, I am strongly supporting the effort to defeat Eyman's anti-rights measures. In these times of diminished civil rights, we all need to be vigilant and sometimes being vigilant calls for action. Only by taking action can we celebrate our common humanity.

DAVID DELLA

Any initiative to repeal the hard-fought for and long-awaited civil rights legislation recently passed is an affront to everyone's civil rights.

At a time when many of our civil liberties are under assault, we have to be vigilant in standing up for the civil rights and equality of all people.

Members, friends and supporters of the GLBTQ community have worked tirelessly to achieve passage of legislation providing Gays and Lesbians with equal protection under the law.

It will be vitally important that the diverse communities of Seattle come together to stand up for these fundamental rights.

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