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Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Pike Place Politics

Posted by on June 20 at 8:30 AM

What he said.

As a straight guy who supports equal rights for gays, I don’t think the 43rd should send a gay or lesbian person to Olympia simply because the candidate is gay. All six Democrats support full marriage equality. All six supported recent civil rights legislation. This seems like the usual ‘Seattle-style identity politics.’ …Sending a heterosexual to Olympia as opposed to a homosexual seems like the least of concerns in the 43rd.

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"All six Democrats support full marriage equality. All six supported recent civil rights legislation."

That's great that they support full marriage equality and recent civil rights legislation. But how many of them are active proponents of said causes? The following is from their web sites:

Jim Street: "As a city councilmember and as a judge, I saw these rights in moral as well legal terms. It is my job as a citizen to notice, to bring attention to and act against racism, homophobia, sexism and other forms of discrimination whenever I see them."

Lynne Dodson: "I strongly support full marriage equality for same-sex couples. My union was one of the first to sign on to the labor friend-of-the-court brief in the Andersen/ Castle marriage equality case before the state supreme court."

Bill Sherman: "Across the nation, anti-gay ballot measures target our friends and family members. This must stop. In addition, we need the legislature to ensure that the Anderson-Murray Civil Rights Act is implemented firmly and fairly. I'll fight for vigorous enforcement of these hard-earned rights, and for full marriage equality."

Stephanie Pure: "I will fight any attempt to undermine civil rights law in Washington, especially the gay-civil-rights bill recently passed in the Legislature. No sooner did Washington’s LGBT community win a great civil rights victory than it was threatened by discrimination and bias. I will work to ensure that all Washington residents are treated equally under the law."

Dick Kelley: "Dick Kelley believes that all couples- straight, gay and lesbian- should have an equal right to marry with full legal rights. The U.S. Constitution mandates that all persons have the equal protection of the law, and this issue is our generation’s application of that Constitutional right. Dick did not just take this position to win votes in this campaign. He has advocated equal rights for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered citizens for many years. During his four years as Chair of the 43rd District Democrats (2002-2006) he advocated in party meetings and platform deliberations for equal marriage rights. In March, 2004, when the right wing was pushing a U.S. Constitutional amendment to outlaw same-sex marriage, Dick used his credibility as District Chair and his column in the District newspaper to argue that Democrats, who unblinkingly support equal rights for other minorities, should take the same position on equal marriage rights."

Of these, based on the information on their campaign web sites, only Dodson and Kelley appear to have taken any action to support gay rights and marriage equality - and in Dodson's case it was only clear that her union, not she directly, was involved. Now, if any of the others HAVE actually done something for gay rights, let them demonstrate it by telling us what they've DONE - not what they will do.

While I don't believe that the 43rd has to go to a gay candidate by any means, saying that "all the candidates support marriage equality" doesn't portray an accurate picture of how someone will advocate on behalf of the gay community. After all, not supporting gay rights in the 43rd is election-day suicide.

Oh, and by the way, from Pedersen's site: " I just finished chairing the board of the national civil rights organization Lambda Legal, and serve as Lambda's lead volunteer lawyer on our state's marriage equality case."

Dan looks like he is cutting off his nose to spite his face because of his personal issues with Pedersen, whatever they may be.

So my first time on the slog. I have been asked why I gave up a safe house seat and a “powerful chairmanship” of a budget committee to run for the senate. I believe having a place at the table makes a difference. It did for women and people of color and it makes a difference for queer people as well. I believe if Cal Anderson had served longer then eight months in the senate or if any of the four gay house members had served in the senate the civil rights bill would have passed years ago. The senate has always been a roadblock for the LGBT community and that is why I took the risk of taking on an incumbent in this year’s senate race. I believe over time I can make a difference on marriage equality in the senate.
In regards to the House race I am following Cal’s example when he vacated his house seat to run for the senate. It was a crowded field, one of the candidates was gay (the first lobbyist on the gay rights bill) but Cal decided not to choose between his friends and supporters running for his house seat. I also will not choose among my friends and supporters running for the seat I now hold. If there was no gay member left in the house, I would differ from Cal and endorse in this race, because as I said having a place at the table makes a difference.

Look a New Orleans where they demand to have a "black mayor". A white guy would do way better for that city, but those ignorant people demand someone who looks like them.

We do not need gay politicians. Dan Savage speaks for most of the gay community in demanding that we stop voting for gay politicians.

We shouldn't be using sexual orientation as a deciding factor in a candidtate- that much I agree with. I also know that there is no way in hell that any of the het candidates would have been the "face" of anything coming to the forefront in the GLBT political world- 1) they're not gay or lesbian so don't have a "vested interest" and 2) because of that lack of vested interest, they will always be followers instead of proponents. It's a rare het (with a very public face) that starts their own cause or participates from the beginning of one because of some injustice etc... The only one that comes immediately to mind is that boy scout in CA who is straight but took it upon himself to form a group opposed to the Boy Scouts actions against gay men participating in that organization. This isn't because they don't support the community, but generally they are not very personally effected by what happens directly when one is actually GLBT.

We need allies in the straight community and I appreciate each and every one of them. I believe that every candidate in the 43rd supports marriage equality and GLBT rights in general. I also know that there are many more issues than just GLBT issues we're facing and somebody needs to be well rounded with a bunch of them. Ed Murray will be a loss to the house. While I am happy there are 3 other GLBT house members, I haven't seen any of them take the same lead that Ed has- and part of being able to take that lead is the political protection the 43rd has to offer a GLBT rep.

I'm actually more concerned that the state democratic party hasn't the backbone or fotitude to clean its own house (Hello Tim Sheldon) and I have found Dwight Pelz' efforts so far to be disappointing. I thought if a pit bull was in there there'd be some biting- I guess I was wrong.

Hey No Identity Politics: How do you know a white guy would do better than a black guy? That doesn't even deserve a response. "Most of the gay community"?!? Did you do a poll? I like Dan, but he doesn't speak for me... I do. Sounds like you've given your identity to Dan.

I've never claimed to speak for anyone but myself... and it's important that we have representation in the state house and senate—and we do. We've got four now, and even if Pedersen loses in November, we'll still have four reps in Olympia.

Four gay politicians in Washington State is more than enough, and probably too many. Identity politics is right, New Orleans insists on a "black mayor" when what they need is competent management, so they won't vote for a white guy who could turn that city around.

Dan cut the unnecessary modesty. Many voters use The Stranger guide at the polls. The Stranger can take down Pedersen, we love you Dan and if you hate Pedersen and want to see him ruined, many gay voters will be persuaded.

Hey, if you are looking to add a seat at the queer table, why aren't the lgbt pundits promoting and recruting some lesbians to run for the house and senate? Surely there must be a qualified one in the 43rd? Or is queer politics at the state level just a boys club? Why have lesbians - Sherry, Tina and Sally - been able to be successful at the city level (the size of a congressional district, no less) but not in the legislature? Yeah, old boys club indeed...

I know that Dick Kelley has always been a strong advocate, but I should point out that Bill Sherman has also stood up a few times as well.

Hey, why can't we talk about any of the other issues in this race? I mean, seriously, I haven't heard word one about the differences between the candidates on transportation, the environment, judicial actions, homeless people, or anything else ...

I hear there's a forum at Town Hall (8th and Seneca?) on July 22 with all the candidates - any idea what _other_ issues they'll be talking about?

Gay white males are also the oppressors. We do not need another white male politician.

If a black woman were president, there would be no more wars or poverty.

Dave Coffman,

San Francisco's Gavin Newsom was a hetero-politico willing to risk civil disobedience of a sort for the LGBT cause. Not to say that everyone is Newsom or that he didn't have his reasons, but it still took guts, especially since he is such a handsome hetero.

I take your point, but you don't have to be gay to champion gay rights, and there are plenty of gays who will work against the queer cause.

"We do not need gay politicians. Dan Savage speaks for most of the gay community in demanding that we stop voting for gay politicians."
"Four gay politicians in Washington State is more than enough, and probably too many."
"If a black woman were president, there would be no more wars or poverty"


Yet another SLOG thread brought to the depths of stupidity by inane posts. Can there not be an intelligent discussion of the issues facing the 43rd? Dan, we all know you hate Pedersen and are doing what you can to paint him as a weasel. You've made it clear time and time and time again. Why not just launch a web site like "" where you can vent to your heart's content, and get the Stranger and the Slog back to discussing the real issues.

I think it's cute that Dan Savage hates Pedersen. We love you Dan and will help you take down your nemesis. I'm telling everyone I know not to vote for the gay guy.

"We love you Dan and will help you take down your nemesis."
I'm with Dan - no more white faggots in office!

"If a black woman were president, there would be no more wars or poverty."
There is actually a group of black lesbians buying an island and we're all going to move there. It's going to be the most prosperous, peaceful place on earth, with no need for wars over energy sources because we will rely on our fertile goddess power for our energy supply.

GBM: Yep- you're right about Gavin Newsom- and he did stick his neck a long ways out on the line. As for there being plenty of gays working against gay rights- I have to say I agree with that as well- some of the worst are some pretty deeply closeted people.

As for the other "issues" I'm for candidates that are able to get things done. Transportation, parks, schools are all areas in which there are already experts in legislative office, and I'd like to hear some new ideas, or at least some that would once and for all break through some of the process problems that happen.

As well, I'm no term limits type of guy, but some of the people in there seem to think they're entitled to die in office. Helen Sommers comes to mind. If you haven't gotten your agenda mostly done in 30+ years of representation, I figure you've had your shot.

While I don't think the 43rd HAS to have a gay rep, I think there is some merit to questioning just how dedicated the hetero candidates are to gay rights. There is passive support and there is active support. Ed Murray worked and pushed and cajoled tirelessly year after year after year to push the gay rights legislation through. I'm sure all of the candidates to replace him would have voted for such legislation, but how many of them would actively sponsor and push for it as long and hard as Ed did?

If the State Supreme Court rules in favor of allowing gays to marry (which seems likely), there will undoubted follow an effort to revise the state constitution to ban gay marriage. Ed Murray's successor will be involved in that battle.

I don't want a legislator who passively supports gay marriage, and will vote to keep it. I want a legislator who will actively, passionately, and persuasively champion my rights, who will sway other fence-sitting legislators to back my rights.

So being gay scores some points for me. An openly gay legislator has more at stake personally in these issues. That isn't the sole deciding factor. Gay candidates can certainly be totally incompetent (anyone remember Harvey Muggy, who in one city council race got less than 1000 votes?). I'm very willing to consider the other candidates, but it will take a bit of work on their part to convince me that they will fight for my rights as hard as Ed has over these many years.

PS: Dan, I haven't quite figured out why you have such a bug up your ass about Pedersen. Sure, he's made a couple of minor missteps. But no candidate is pure as snow, and his transgressions seem pretty minor. If there is something seriously wrong with him, I'd like to know. But so far your rants against him are coming across as somewhat petty.

An aside to Will in Seattle:

The Candidate Forum of which you speak -- in Town Hall (8th Ave & Seneca), sponsored by the 43rd District Democrats -- will take place on July 18, not the date you suggested. You've gotten it wrong on at least one prior occasion, but I didn't catch it in time.

That's July 18 ... July 18 ... July 18.

To Dave Coffman:

Dwight Pelz and the state party have nothing, repeat nothing, to do with Tim Sheldon. What do you expect them to do, assassinate him or something? He won the election, after all.

The Democratic Senate Campaign Committee recruits and supports candidates, and the Senate Caucus has the power to expel renegade members.

Fortunately, Sheldon has a credible opponent in the Democratic primary, Kyle Taylor Lucas, who could use your help.

If Sheldon gets through the primary, anyone who wants to see the Democratic Senate Caucus expel him should support Democratic Senate candidates for GOP-held seats around the state. with more of a margin in the Senate, the caucus might just deal with him.

Those candidates are: Derek Kilmer in the 26th, Ed Crawford or Claudia Kauffman in the 47th, Rodney Tom in the 48th, Yvonne Ward in the 31st, Chris Marr in the 6th, Tomas Villanueva in the 15th, Lisa Bowen in the 13th, Jesse Salomon in the 42nd, and Lilian Kaufer in the 44th. Plus Eric Oemig in the 45th is running for the seat vacated by Finkbeiner, against Toby Nixon, who is not your friend.


Did Steve Hobbs poop in your cereal or something?

You mention Ed Crawford and Claudia Kauffman in the 48th (Ed with the sole endorsement of the LD Dems, it might be noted), but then fail to list Steve next to Lillian Kaufer's name? He's kicking her ass in fundraising, and has more organizational support - so what's your beef?

Post your own list, then, if you don't like it.

I was just curious, is all.

As a gay man in the 43rd, this episode between Savage and Pedersen - vendetta, legitimate gripe, or whatever it is - actually sums up my core concern about sending Pedersen to Olympia as an advocate. That core concern is: good grief, Jamie, what does it take for you to stand up, fight, speak up and defend yourself? After weeks of relentless beatings from Dan, you're still silent - no public statements that I'm aware of, no blog postings, no response of any kind. And it's that fact - the fact that you're got nothing to say about any of this - that stands out amongst any other concerns I may have about anointing you as one of "our" advocates in the capital. What does it take for you to toughen up?

Dan Savage has exposed Pedersen as a pussy. Dan Savage has more guts, more smarts, and better connections that Pedersen will ever have. The Stranger is going to take Pedersen down to prove to Seattle we don't need more gay men in our government.

Gah! It's not that we don't need more gay men.

Why is it some people don't realize that competence and stance on issues as well as backbone is what matters.

If the person just so happens to be gay then so be it, but quit making this a gay issue.

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