May 5, 2006
Volume 34
Issue 18
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Friday, Nov 27, 2020



The Columbian: Eyman's brigade facing stiff challenge
The Columbian: Eyman's brigade facing stiff challenge
by The Columbian editorial writers

Did the women's suffrage movement of the early 1900's result in preferential treatment to women? Of course not. The eminently proper reform allowed women to vote, just like men. Did the Civil Rights Act of 1964 grant preferential treatment to people of color? Of course not. It granted them equality, prohibiting segregation in public places and processes.

That's why it is rather annoying that opponents of Washington state's Gay civil-rights law are snorting that the measure grants "preferential treatment" to homosexuals. It does nothing of the sort. Thirty years in the making and three decades late, the bill passed last November prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation in employment, housing and finance matters. Religious organizations and owner-occupied dwelling units are exempt.

Perhaps the bill's profound logic is why Tim Eyman and other misguided proponents of Referendum 65 are having a difficult time obtaining petition signatures for the measure that would repeal the Gay civil-rights law. Right-minded Washingtonians couldn't be more pleased. May those signature solicitors continue facing the difficulties of a midnight telemarketer.

As of Wednesday, Eyman said he had collected only 8,718 of the 112,440 signatures required to place Referendum 65 on the Nov. 7 ballot. They have only until June 7 to collect the remaining 93 percent of required signatures.

There's another reason this is a bad referendum. We have traditionally editorialized that the primary need for citizen participation in the legislative process is to accomplish crucial work that elected officials will not perform. A good example is this state's ban on indoor smoking in public places. The Legislature refused to get the work done, so the voters overwhelmingly passed Initiative 901 last November. Although I-901 was not a referendum, using Eyman's logic, it granted preferential treatment to people who choose not to die by ingesting secondhand smoke.

Legislators are elected to make important decisions in the Legislature. It's that simple. For their actions, let them be held accountable in the next election.

This editorial originally appeared in The Columbian, a Vancouver, WA, based daily newspaper, on April 28, 2006. It has been republished here with permission.

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