Gay marriage may be legal in Washington, but that doesn’t mean everyone in the state is progressive. A number of legislators are looking to pass a bill that would allow any business to discriminate against gay people.
However, as the staffer of a Republican Senator puts it, it really isn’t a big deal if gay people are not sold any goods or services as they can always “just grow their own food.”
This is what an unnamed staffer of Sen. Mike Hewitt's (R-Walla Walla), a co-sponsor of the anti-gay bill, told The Stranger when asked, “What are rural gays supposed to do if the only gas station or grocery store for miles won't sell them gas and food?”
If passed, Senate Bill 5927 would allow businesses in the state to deny services to individuals based on religious or philosophical differences. The bill comes as a response to a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union against a Richland florist who refused to service a gay wedding citing her religion as excuse.
The staffer later apologized about the response:
“It was a poor response to a question, that's really all I want to say about that,” the staffer told The Stranger. “He caught me at a bad time; I'm not interested in answering hypotheticals. It was a combative call. Patience was lost, mistakes were made, and that's it.”
SB 5927 is currently being discussed the committee level.
Last week, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act was reintroduced in Congress. If passed, the federal law would supersede Washington’s anti-gay bill. Sergio N. Candido