Dino Rossi stands by anti-Gay remarks (or does he?)
Dino Rossi stands by anti-Gay remarks (or does he?)
by Mike Andrew - SGN Contributing Writer

Republican gubernatorial candidate Dino Rossi's campaign told SGN this week that he stands by anti-Gay remarks attributed to him in a Seattle Times story printed September 10 this year. At the same time, Rossi's spokesperson tried to distance her candidate from the Gay rights issues Rossi addressed in his Times interview.

In the Times article, Rossi is quoted as saying he would veto a marriage equality bill if it were passed by the Legislature. He added that he would favor rolling back some domestic partnership rights passed this year.

Jill Strait, media spokesperson for the Dino Rossi campaign confirmed, "Yes, he would veto a marriage bill. People can pass an initiative if they disagree."

Strait added, "He takes a traditional view of marriage. One man and one woman. The Governor doesn't support [same-sex] marriage, either." Incumbent Gov. Christine Gregoire, a Democrat running for re-election against Rossi, has said that same-sex partners should have the same rights as married spouses, but she does not agree with the use of the word "marriage."

Asked if Rossi would support equal rights for same-sex couples if it were called "domestic partnership" or "civil union," Strait was evasive. "He's not campaigning on that issue," she said. "He believes that people should be able to care for their loved ones."

Asked if Rossi supported other rights for same-sex couples besides hospital visitation and medical consent, Strait said Rossi "wouldn't overturn current law. He's concerned about one specific provision of the current law."

That specific provision is the right of survivorship in property ownership. Washington is a community property state. Surviving spouses inherit full ownership of community property - the couple's house, for example - upon the death of their spouse, even if there is no will. Additions to the state's domestic partnership law passed this year extend the same rights to registered domestic partners. Rossi opposes this provision of the law.

Rossi told the Times, "Well, that's why you have wills. That's a problem. That's a huge problem. That's a problem legally, with the transfer of assets." Strait confirmed to SGN that Rossi favors reversing this provision of the law, but added, "He is not campaigning on this issue."

Asked if Rossi would oppose additional rights being added for same-sex couples, Strait said, "Well, what more is there? Supporting or opposing domestic partnerships or civil unions is not part of his agenda. He would look at future legislation on a case by case basis."

Asked by SGN for the opportunity to interview Rossi personally, Strait replied, "Well, he can't. He's on a plane now." She declined to commit to an interview on another date.

Rossi was elected to two terms in the State Senate, 1996-2004, but resigned shortly before the completion of his second term to run for governor against Christine Gregoire. He lost to Gregoire in 2004 by only 129 votes in a controversial election featuring multiple recounts.

As a State Senator, Rossi consistently opposed the Anderson-Murray Civil Rights Bill, which prohibited discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. He left the legislature before domestic partnership legislation was introduced, and therefore had no opportunity to vote for or against it.

On other issues of interest to the LGBT community, Rossi favors allowing individual school districts to decide if they want to offer abstinence-only sex education. He also says local school districts should decide "whether or not to teach creationism along with evolution." Gregoire opposes abstinence-only education, and insists "I want science-based education in our schools."