Some good news: Washington state enters 21st century
by Crazy Vaclav, Fri Jan 27, 2006 at 12:27:23 PM EST
Today the Washington Senate passed legislation adding sexual orientation as a protected class to the Washington Law Against Discrimination. In other words, once the governor signs off, Washington joins 15 other states in saying that a boss can't fire you or a landlord can't evict you for being gay (or for being straight, for that matter).
This comes after more than a dozen tries. This legislation has consistently passed the House only to fail in the more closely-split Senate. Last year, with Dems holding a 26-23 edge, it looked like it was finally going to pass, but two socially conservative rural Dems (Hargrove and Sheldon, both from the Olympic Peninsula) voted no at the last minute. This year, those two still voted no, but one Republican (Bill Finkbeiner, from Seattle's affluent eastside suburbs, and facing a strong challenge this year from a progressive self-funder with Microsoft money) turned around and voted yes. With one other Republican abstaining, it passed 25-23.
Kudos to my own state representative, Ed Murray, for constantly pushing this bill for the last decade-plus, in the face of unrelenting opposition from the state's wingnut contingent. A lot of Washingtonians are breathing easier tonight.