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Volume 35
Issue 19
 
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Anti-Gay pastor to speak at kick-off for Snohomish County sheriff candidate - Hutcherson to lead breakfast and prayer rally for Tom Greene
Anti-Gay pastor to speak at kick-off for Snohomish County sheriff candidate - Hutcherson to lead breakfast and prayer rally for Tom Greene
by Robert Raketty - SGN Staff Writer

Eastside pastor Ken Hutcherson of Antioch Bible Church will be the guest speaker at the campaign kick-off breakfast and prayer rally for Tom Greene, a candidate for Snohomish County sheriff, in Everett on Tuesday, May 15. Hutcherson is no stranger to the region's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community due to his work to undermine LGBT equality.

Hutcherson, a former Seattle Seahawk and linebacker in the N.F.L., has launched an initiative with the Secretary of State in January seeking to repeal the Anderson-Murray Civil Rights Bill (House Bill 2661). His church had also backed an earlier effort by Tim Eyman, Referendum 65, which also sought to overturn the anti-discrimination law. The referendum had failed to qualify for the ballot.

In addition, Hutcherson took credit for bullying Microsoft into temporarily withdrawing its support of pro-Gay legislation and for organizing the 2004 "Mayday for Marriage Rally" at Safeco Field. He is also an advocate of "ex-Gay" therapy, a practice condemned by every mainstream medical and psychological organization.

Hutcherson has also been under fire for claiming to be a "special envoy of the White House" during a recent visit to Latvia. The White House disputes his assertions and, to date, Hutcherson has refused to provide proof of his assignment as a special envoy in the areas of adoptions, family values, religious freedom, and medical relief for the White House Office of Faith Based and Community Initiatives. During his visit to Latvia, he lobbied religious and political leaders to oppose advances in LGBT equal rights. Greene will face two opponents in his bid for Sheriff. Democratic state Rep. John Lovick and Sheriff's Lt. Robert Beidler are also seeking the post. The position is being vacated by Sheriff Rick Bart, who cannot run again due to term limits.

Lovick spoke with the Seattle Gay News on Thursday about Hutcherson's role in the Greene campaign. "There is a freedom of association. You have the right to associate with whomever you would like," he said. "But, I think I would be skeptical of someone that would have a person come out for a fundraiser with the record of someone who is against equal rights for others."

He touted his record on LGBT issues. "If you check my record, I have voted for every piece of [pro-LGBT] legislation," said Lovick. "I just believe that when you stand up for the rights of others, we all take a step forward. That is what I felt I have done with my votes in the House of Representatives." Lovick says his record reflects the kind of sheriff he will be. "I think I have a record of service to this community. I think I am going to be an outstanding sheriff," he said. "I think we need a person who is going to stand up for the rights of everyone - to be able to represent the rights of everyone - to be the sheriff of this county. That is the person I plan to be.

"If there are any of us who are going to be in a position as strong and as powerful as the position of Sheriff and you don't believe in equality, I think we have some major problems..."

Openly Gay State Rep. Jamie Pedersen, D-Seattle, said he supports Lovick for Sheriff. "I think Rep. Lovick will make an outstanding sheriff for Snohomish County," he said. "He's been a great supporter of the LGBT community and an outstanding Speaker Pro Tem. He is a consummate gentleman. We will miss him in the legislature."

State Rep. Jim Moeller, D-Vancouver, who is also openly Gay, agreed. "He has my complete support and endorsement. John has been a constant supporter of GLBT rights and protections while in the legislature," he said. "I think John will make an excellent sheriff! He has worked tirelessly for public safety throughout his career in both the state patrol and in the state House."

The two Gay lawmakers disagree about how the LGBT community should respond to Hutcherson's support of Greene. Pedersen said it "speaks volumes that his opponent would associate with Rev. Hutcherson." Moeller, however, preached caution about making assumptions.

"I would hate to think that, as a community, we would adopt a strategy of 'guilt by association'," said Moeller. "I consider some very conservative Republicans in the legislature and at home as good friends. Is my commitment to GLBT issues in question?

"Instead, I would think that, we as a community, we should ask the candidates directly about their positions on our issues - either through questionnaires or at candidate forums."

Stan Lake, campaign manager for the Tom Greene for Sheriff Campaign, said Hutcherson was selected largely due to his work on promoting adoption. He said Greene had been adopted by foster parents at a young age and that three of Greene's five grandchildren were also adopted.

"I didn't realize I would be antagonizing people by inviting someone who I see as a guy who is ready, willing and able to stand up for his view of what is right and what is wrong," he said. "I understand there are differing perspectives on that. I hope there is a place where we can meet in the community forum to agree, disagree or discuss the issues of the day and still remain fellow Americans; fellow members of the community. We still have to live, work and play together as Americans."

Lake added that the personal views of the candidates should not affect their ability to apply the law. "The sheriff's office is not a position to legislate or to make social policy, the job of the sheriff is to carry out the law fairly and impartially to all citizens, residents and anybody in the community," he said. Beidler's campaign could not be reached.

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