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Washington Voters Test Gay Rights Bill

Gay rights activists have written an anti-discrimination measure that would prevent discrimination against lesbians and gay men in the workplace. If passed, it will be the first gay rights initiative passed by voters rather than legislators.

Despite the fact that the ballot measure also specifically forbids preferential treatment, quotas, and domestic partner benefits and exempts religious organizations and businesses with less than 8 employees in an effort to counter claims by gay rights opponents,anti-gay activists continue to fight the the initiative. Residents will vote on the measure on November 4.

The Washington Association of Churches, the state’s largest organization of Protestant and Catholic churches, has endorsed the initiative. Rev. Dr. Ellis H. Casson, senior pastor of a Seattle First AME Church, said “Today, the people of the state of Washington live in a community where it is legal to deny or remove someone from their job simply because of sexual orientation. We find this principle to be morally wrong.”

Sources:

AP, The Advocate - October 11-14, 1997

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