This Washington

Republicans Don't Practice What They Preach on "Social Issues" Fatwa

By Josh Feit January 6, 2012

The Republican reaction to Gov. Chris Gregoire's headline-grabbing announcement on Wednesday that she's coming out for gay marriage (she's putting her name on state Sen. Ed Murray and state Rep. Jamie Pedersen's "marriage equality" bill) has been to pooh-pooh gay marriage legislation for being frivolous as the recession continues to wreck the economy.

They repeated the talking point in downtown Seattle today at a CityClub preview of the legislative session. Republican state senate minority leader Sen. Mike Hewitt (R-16, Walla Wall) and house Republican leader Gary Alexander (R-20, Olympia) said there was no time for social issues this session.

"I'm very hopeful that [social issues] will go away until next year," Hewitt said, explaining that it was a short session and that legislators needed to focus exclusively on fiscal issues.

Alexander seconded the sentiment—specifically calling out legislation that would require private insurers that cover maternity care to pay for abortions—saying: "This brings up all kinds of issues of moral character that I'm not sure we want to take that on at this point in time."

However, their colleagues don't appear to have signed off on the "no social issues" fatwa. Today, as Hewitt and Alexander were arguing that social issues were inappropriate this session, five Republican senators were proposing legislation that would make English the official language of the state.

And, as Fizz noted yesterday, even as state Rep. Matt Shea (R-4, Spokane Valley) was sending out a press release criticizing Gregoire for "needlessly divert[ing] attention away from the more than 300,000 unemployed people" a check of his prime-sponsored bills list for the recession-session includes legislation requiring parental notification for abortion; undoing the federal mandate on health care; exempting firearms from federal regulations; restricting the use of unmarked law enforcement cars on private property; and sending a message to President Obama demanding that he honor the 10th Amendment (states’ rights).
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