This Washington

Despite R-71 Showing, McKenna is Not Pro-Gay Rights

By Josh Feit December 28, 2010

Lurleen, a regular blogger at the LGBT blog Pam's House Blend, sent us this email today.—Eds.

I'm writing in response to Attorney General Rob McKenna's recent article in PubliCola, "Attorney General Rob McKenna: In 2011, I will..."

McKenna likes to portray himself as a moderate and let people presume that he's pro-gay, or at least not anti-gay. I'm guessing he is pleased whenever his involvement in the R-71 court case is construed to be pro-gay.  Fact of the matter is that the case Doe v. Reed is not a gay rights case, but a public disclosure case that grew out of an anti-gay referendum. The difference is important because McKenna isn't defending gay anything by his involvement in the case, he's merely defending a state public disclosure law.  Mr. McKenna is decidedly not moderate when it comes to gay issues.

In 2004 while running for the position of Attorney General, Mr. McKenna blasted a King County Superior Court ruling that said gay and lesbian couples could marry. The ruling was later overturned by the state Supreme Court with the help of two justices McKenna endorsed this year for reelection (Jim Johnson & Richard Sanders).

Then-King County Councilman Rob McKenna, criticized the ruling's wording as too broad and said its argument that there is no compelling state interest to deny marriage to two people in a committed relationship could leave marriage open to blood relatives or those practicing polygamy. "It threatens to destroy all standards we apply to the right of marriage," he said.

Those are not the words of a moderate, and certainly unbecoming of an Attorney General hopeful who is supposed to treat all Washingtonians equally under the law.

This year, Mr. McKenna endorsed some of the most virulently anti-gay candidates running, including supreme court candidates Jim Johnson and Richard Sanders, U.S. rep candidates James Watkins, John Koster, David Castillo , and Dick Muri; state  Sen. Pam Roach (R-31) and state rep candidates Kevin Parker, Hans Zeiger, and Steven O'Ban.

Johnson and Sanders are infamous for penning a separate concurring opinion in the Andersen marriage case apparently for the purpose of adding gratuitous anti-gay animus.

Steve O'Ban was one of the attorneys defending Washington's so-called Defense of Marriage Act in the Andersen case, and he was a spokesperson in 2009 for Protect Marriage Washington's Reject 71 campaign. (Editor's note: He also argued on behalf of Stormans' pharmacy against state rules requiring pharmacies to dispense Plan B, which PubliCola has covered extensively, including the fact that McKenna spoke at O'Ban's campaign kickoff.)

John Koster's very long history of anti-gay activism in the legislature and on the Snohomish Co. Council is well known, as is his enduring partnership with anti-gay activist Larry Stickney, author of Referendum 71 and Protect Marriage Washington's campaign manager.  Likewise, Sen. Roach needs no introduction.

Hans Zeiger works for an organization dedicated in part to forestalling marriage equality.

Shortly after the 2010 election Mr. McKenna used his own campaign email list to find volunteers to do ballot rehab for Hans Zeiger and another outspokenly anti-gay candidate, Vincent Buys.

Lurleen has written about McKenna and gay rights over at Pam's House Blend, including a November 11 post titled "Attorney General Rob McKenna's moderate facade hides an anti-gay plotter" and a November 20 post titled "Attorney General Rob McKenna promotes ballot rehab effort for anti-gay candidates."
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