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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, October 28, 2016 - Volume 44 Issue 44
INITIATIVE 735

We need to stop big money to protect LGBTQ rights
Arts & Entertainment
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INITIATIVE 735

We need to stop big money to protect LGBTQ rights

Editor:

The Constitution was written to give ALL individuals a voice (one person, one vote), but it has taken women's suffrage, civil rights, and LGBTQ equality to even approach that aspiration. But the 2010 Supreme Court case Citizens United v. FEC has worked against those hard-fought victories by allowing extremely wealthy individuals to spend unlimited amounts of anonymous money supporting the candidates they choose. They can drown out everyone else by monopolizing the media. Allowing Citizens United to stand says, 'I don't care who you are. I have money. I can override anything you try to accomplish because money is influence.'

As an LGBTQ person, I support Initiative 735 on this November's ballot as a way to protect our community and our political process.

Don't get me wrong; there are millionaires and billionaires on both sides of the political spectrum. However, about 75% of the top mega-wealthy donors give to conservative Republicans, according to opensecrets.org. More importantly, that doesn't count all of the anonymous donations allowed by the ruling. This is dangerous to our LGBTQ community. Why do conservative politicians speak out against gay marriage when 55% of the US population supports equality? Why was there an anti-transgender bathroom bill in Washington, a forward-leaning state? Because there's money behind it.

We can't allow the mega-wealthy to use their money to socially engineer a future that leaves the LGBTQ community behind.

Allowing the unregulated flow of money allows politicians who demonize LGBTQ people to retain the spotlight. We have many pressing issues to worry about - income inequality, climate change, and gun control. However, undisclosed money is going to people and organizations that direct people's anger in the wrong direction. By stoking people's homophobia, they are distracted from other, more serious issues.

Most importantly, keeping anti-LGBTQ vitriol in the public spotlight continues to inspire events like the Orlando shooting. It causes young queers to hate themselves, and allows groups to demonize transgender people for political gain.

Money has influenced politics since time immemorial. Initiative 735 won't fix that completely. But it will make Washington the 18th state to go on record telling Congress to overturn Citizens United and make sure that all donations in elections are regulated and publicly disclosed.

Lessening the influence of Big Money in politics will not stop all the racists, bigots or homophobes. But we have to do what we can to hinder those who foment fear and hate for monetary gain. And when Citizens United is overturned, at least we will know where the anti-LGBTQ money is coming from. This November, please vote 'Yes' on Initiative 735.

Pijper Day
Evergreen Graduate
Army Veteran

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INITIATIVE 735

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