Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Referendum 65: Hate in Washington State

Washington State’s Referendum 65 to repeal Bill HB2661’s protection from discrimination for sexual orientation is a bitter pill of mean-spiritedness that Washington Christian churches seem happy in passing out. Tim Eyman, who proposed the referendum, asked 5,400 churches to make May 21st and 28th “Referendum Sunday” in order to help collect the 112,440 signatures needed by June 7th to put the referendum on the November ballot. Going into May 21st, over 33,000 signatures had been collected.

Sound the Alarm, a conservative group who exists to oppose equal rights for LGBT people, distributed over 5,000 DVD’s to be played in services starting May 21st. The 2,600+ members of Northshore Baptist Church watched the six minute video which explained that because gay and lesbians could no longer be discriminated against, “Our civil rights laws no longer exist to protect people (simply) because they have inane value as human beings” and that if this referendum is not passed it is “likely” that ministers will be put in prison for speaking the “truth.” The justification is both the carrot of explaining that people only “believe” they are homosexual or transsexual (You are four times more likely to try and kill yourself as part of the Exodus program than you are to change orientation) and the stick of gay marriage and “crossdressers in the classroom”. For the first time ever, female to male transsexuals are held up in a political debate as the ultimate threat to children. Congrats to FTM’s – you are now visible enough to be hated too.

Ken Hutcherson, Pastor of the Antioch Bible Church, is also a member of the board of Sound the Alarm. You may remember him from last year when he convinced Microsoft to withdraw support from state bill 1515 regarding protecting gays and lesbians from discrimination. That bill lost by one vote. But now that Bill HB2661 has passed, God is calling him to make sure that Christians continue to have the “right” to harass, discriminate or fire LGBT people. He ran into some initial difficulty as it was noticed he was collecting signatures on rented school grounds, but a call was sent out the “Prayer Warriors” and within 24 hours the Lake Washington school district reversed itself. God does like to joke with us now and then doesn’t she?

While groups like Faith and Freedom are behind the movement, the national conservative groups like Concerned Woman of America have also leant their support. The strangest advocate is The Christian Medical and Dental Association which has published its own “factsheet” on Referendum 65 where it states, in direct opposition to the AMA and all other medical and psychiatric associations, “it should be malpractice not to inform those considering or engaging in homosexual behavior that the option for change exists.” If my dentist stops mid-root canal or my doctor stops mid-pap smear to let me know that “change is possible”, I might say anything in sheer terror, it would still have zero effect on my sexual orientation. It would likely have a very high effect on how much I ever trust a doctor or dentist again.

Referendum 65 is yet another attempt of some Christians to define their “rights” as ones which require the elimination or silencing of people who don’t fit within their world view. Faith and Freedom president worries: “One has to ask, “Should the Washington Department of Health be promoting and celebrating Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning month?”" Simple answer: Yes. We are equal citizens and human beings, why not promote awareness of the health issues regarding LGBTQ individuals? Sound the Alarm states its need to overthrow BillHB2661 because “It is part of a systematic effort to normalize homosexuality”. News Flash! We are normal. Diversity is normal. And these hate groups posing under the name of Christianity beg the question: When will Christians start organizing or speaking out to oppose those who dispense hatred and intolenance in their name? Soon?

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GayProf said...

These scary Christians always seem to want to cut health education to LGBTQQ people. I can’t help but wonder if they want disease to spread among our ranks.

kathz said...

I find the behaviour of these so-called Christians quite disgusting. I wish now I'd told you about a "Thought for the Day" (God-slot) on BBC Radio 4 either last week or the week before - I'd meant to but was very occupied with other matters. It was by a Church of Scotland minister (his surname was Bell, I recall) associated with the Iona community, who had attended a service for commitment between two gay Christians. He didn't specify their gender. He spoke about how when the congregation, including the children of both partners, prayed for the partnership, he felt his own prejudices melting away. He went on to draw parallels with the church's change of mind on slavery and the position of women. I found it a most cheering thing to hear before leaving for work in the morning.

I've found the text on the net at:


And if you want to listen, I think you can do so by accessing:


and choosing the 24th May thought.