Eyman Took the Bait; Civil Liberties, Progressive Causes Win!

Frat Boy Tim Eyman has helped advance efforts to eliminate discrimination in Washington State. Failure to get enough signatures to put Referendum 65 on the November ballot allowed the anti- discrimination HB 2661 passed by the Washington State Legislature to go into effect today. People cannot lose their jobs or be refused housing, insurance or credit based on sexual orientation.

What is so interesting about what happened is that the effort to advance anti – discrimination legislation in this state is a perfect example of what aggressive progressive activism can do to change the political landscape.

Whereas in other states the right wing and evangelical churches have tried to push their agenda of exclusion and division by pushing legislation to ban gay marriage, including putting initiative campaigns on the ballot, here in Washington state the issue of discrimination became the battleground. Because Eyman is a lone wolf, he probably never consulted with others before filing his referendum.

Discrimination is a much harder issue for the right to win on because while one may oppose gay marriage, many more people feel it would be wrong for someone to lose their job or be unable to rent an apartment because they are gay. In essence the left defined what the campaign was about when HB 2661 was passed by the Legislature and as I said, Frat Boy Tim Eyman took the bait, and made this state’s gay issue about discrimination, rather than marriage.

And because his 3 month effort failed to rally many troops and came up some 30,000 signatures short of what is really needed to qualify a measure to be put on the ballot, Eyman has advanced the cause of those that passed the anti-discrimination bill.

It is a major defeat for him and the churches that helped because the signature requirements for a referendum are only half of what it is to put an initiative on the ballot. With a 20% cushion for bad signatures an initiative needs to get close to 270,000 signatures. Eyman’s self reported 105,000 signatures is just a little over a third of what would be needed to qualify an initiative for the ballot.

We should all give a big cheer for local Frat Boy Tim and his never ending efforts to make money while pushing his own conservative libertarian agenda with his two cronies from Spokane. What a team. Even the right wing churches complained that his fraternity of 3 botched the whole effort.

Of course a round of applause deserves to go to the Washington Won’t Discriminate campaign for not waiting to see if enough signatures were obtained. They started organizing, building support and getting a strong campaign message out urging opposition to getting Referendum 65 on the ballot. Their efforts certainly helped make it more difficult for the right wing to collect signatures.

Eyman also was unable to raise very much money on this issue which meant he couldn’t pay people for signatures. Probably this was a result of Washington’s strong campaign finance disclosure laws. Many people probably did not want to have their names made public.

Once faced with asking people to volunteer, the lack of support to overturn the legislation became obvious. Most people, including most religious people, just don’t believe in discrimination.

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