Read a Pacific Northwest, liberal perspective on world, national, and local politics. From majestic Redmond, Washington - the Northwest Progressive Institute Official Blog.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

A new Tim Sheldon is born

The (Longview) Daily News has an interview with 19th District Democratic state senator Brian Hatfield about why he voted against a domestic partnership registry.
In 1998, Hatfield opposed the Defense of Marriage Act, which defined marriage to exclude same-sex couples. Hatfield said he voted against the act because conservatives were grandstanding. Gay marriages weren't recognized anyway.

More than once Hatfield voted while in the House to add sexual orientation to the state's anti-discrimination law.

But he was one of four Democrats on Thursday who joined 15 Republicans in voting against creating a domestic-partner registry.


"Something I didn't appreciate and understand 12 years ago (as a freshman lawmaker) was that people of faith are very concerned this is going to hurt our society," Hatfield said. "I've spent the last seven years with a lot of these folks."

Last year, while Hatfield was on a two-year hiatus from the Legislature, lawmakers finally prohibited discrimination against gays --- 28 years after the bill was first introduced.

Then this year, Hatfield said, "Boom! Here comes domestic partnership."

"I guess my 'no' vote was a way of standing up and saying, 'Maybe, this is a little too much, too soon," he said. "We're taking people of faith and kicking them in the teeth, and I didn't want to be a part of that."

What's not helpful is Democrats who buy into right-wing memes. Hatfield is entitled to convert to whatever religion he wishes (the full article briefly mentions a 2000 religious conversion by Hatfield.)

But giving domestic partners things like end of life decisions is not "kicking people of faith in the teeth," even if some on the religious right wish to promote (again) the ridiculous claim that they are the ones being persecuted. It's cruel beyond belief to deny people the right to participate in end of life decisions with their partner, so the crocodile tears shed by Hatfield don't really do much for me.

Of course, the other big thing Hatfield was in the news for recently was sponsoring the NASCAR bill because nobody representing Kitsap would actually do so.

Surprise, surprise, here's the sponsor of the NASCAR bill worrying about how damaging it will be to "people of faith" if gays aren't treated like dirt. (And you notice how "people of faith" implicitly means a certain thing, ie being against the gays, and how all other "faiths" are implicity excluded, right?) It's the NASCAR supporters who have defined themselves as part of the culture war, not us.

It's kind of a shame, because way back in the day Hatfield was an up and coming young star in the party. Now he's just another Tim Sheldon in the making. I'd like to think Hatfield can be pulled back from this horrible fate, since he has always seemed like a decent guy, but obviously he is buying into the kool-aid. Someone get him a video of the Mariners and a real Northwest beverage.

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