'The Washington Senate struck a blow against fairness today,' said HRC President Joe Solmonese.
WASHINGTON - The Human Rights Campaign decried today's Washington Senate vote defeating a non-discrimination bill that would have protected state's gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender citizens. The measure was defeated mostly along party lines, by one vote. In a show of bipartisanship, the House overwhelmingly passed a similar version in February. Democratic Gov. Christine Gregoire had pledged to sign the bill.
"The Washington Senate struck a blow against fairness today," said HRC President Joe Solmonese. "Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Washingtonians deserve equal protection under the law. The work of many legislators, the governor and especially Equal Rights Washington will not go unnoticed and we will continue to work in the state to secure basic fairness for all."
"Although Equal Rights Washington is disappointed in today's vote since Washington voters overwhelmingly favor ensuring equal rights for all, thanks to the Human Right Campaign's unprecedented efforts, we now have a lasting statewide organization that will make the difference in years to come," said George Cheung, executive director of Equal Rights Washington, the state's GLBT advocacy group.
HRC worked closely with Equal Rights Washington and key legislators developing and implementing a strategy for passage. HRC has had staff on the ground for the last two months helping with grassroots organizing, coalition building and collaboration with the business community to secure support for passage. HRC also provided funding for television ads, patch-through calls and a lobbyist. Through statewide action alerts and significant volunteer time, HRC mobilized its local members in support of the bill.
"We're committed to standing by Equal Rights Washington to ensure this measure will one day become law," added Solmonese.
First introduced 30 years ago by Washington's first openly gay legislator Rep. Cal Anderson, who passed away of AIDS 10 years ago, this version of the bill was spearheaded by openly gay Rep. Ed Murray. Six states have non-discrimination laws covering sexual orientation and gender identity and 16 have non-discrimination laws covering sexual orientation. View a map of states with laws enacted.
House Bill 1515 would have prohibited discrimination in employment, real estate/housing, public accommodations, credit and insurance based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The House passed the bill Feb. 11, 2005, by a 61-37 vote. The Senate defeated the bill April 21, 2005, by a 24-25 vote.
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