Caffeinated News & Gossip

1. There was another debate last night: The gubernatorial debate between Democrat Jay Inslee and Republican Rob McKenna; it was the fourth time the two men have squared off.

And while the two didn't cover much new ground—Inslee continued to talk about driving down health care costs through preventive care and Washington state's "secret sauce" (aka, innovation) and McKenna continued to talk about capping non-education spending and earmarking the rest to K-12 and higher ed—KING 5 moderator Jean Enersen did ask a previously taboo debate qeustion: Where do the candidates personally stand on R-74, the gay marriage referendum that could make Washington the first state in the nation to approve gay marriage by a vote of the people?

Jean Enersen did ask ask a previously taboo question: Where do the candidates personally stand on R-74, the gay marriage referendum?

Inslee: "I don't believe any politician should be able to tell any of our neighbors in the state of Washington whom to marry and whom to love, this is a personal decision."

He noted that Washington was one of the first states to give women the right to vote and the first to say women had a right to choose an abortion, adding: "And now we will lead in marriage equality."

McKenna said he would vote against R-74, saying domestic partnerships were enough for gays: "I will be voting to retain our current law which I was happy to vote for a few years ago, R-71, that established the legal rights of domestic partners, so they can enjoy the same legal rights as married couples."

He went on to say he would respect the will of the voters if they passed R-74.

Enersen also asked about choice.

Inslee said he was strongly pro-choice, added that he supported the Reproductive Parity Act (a NARAL and Planned Parenthood top priority bill to make insurance companies that cover maternity also cover abortions), and accused McKenna's lawsuit against Obamacare of threatening women's guaranteed access to family planning services. Inslee aslo said he supported women's access to emergency contraception.

McKenna disputed Inslee's claim that Obamacare controlled women's access to health care, saying it was a state issue—though he didn't say where he was on the state's RPA legislation, noting only that women "should have access to health insurance for reproductive services." And McKenna is not right to say Obamacare is irrelevant; the ACA guarantees things that Washington state currently does not, such as guaranteeing insurance coverage for contraception (without a co-pay, by the way).

McKenna did say that he supported women's access to emergency contraception—"they should have access [to Plan B] in pharmacies."

And here's McKenna's full quote on choice: "I believe there are two lives at stake when that issue is before a woman, and it's the woman's choice to make."

All in all, this is the debate to watch—each candidate was the best Fizz has seen yet: the brainy McKenna was not grouchy as usual and Inslee finally started getting beyond sound bites.

Though Inslee did offer this pablum: "I'm a believer in the future" in response to McKenna's sharp attack about a recent AP report that Inslee had invested in a solar company while pushing pro-solar industry legislation in Congress.

2. For that other debate: You can check out our live tweets here.

3. Better late than never: A group of city of Seattle employees put together an "It Gets Better" video (part of Stranger editor Dan Savage's project to fight bullying of gay and lesbian kids) featuring the city's two gay council members, Sally Clark and Tom Rasmussen, and a dozen or so gay, lesbian, and transgender city employees. Check it out: 

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Thanks for your patience. We apologize for the gaffes.