Thursday, July 20, 2006

BRO picks Ted over Ben...but we knew they would

Basic Rights Oregon gave their endorsement for governor to Ted.

Scott seems to find this a more shocking development than do I:

Ok, yeah, Westlund is a former Republican, and even wrote an argument in favor of Measure 36 for the voters pamphlet. But he was also a sponsor and chief proponent of SB1000, the failed bill that would have combined nondiscrimination and civil unions for same-sex couples. His support for it riled up his GOP comrades, who threatened to put him through a primary against someone even further to the right. He responded by dropping his party and running for governor.

It’s no secret among political watchers that Westlund carried the ball on SB1000, while team captain Kulongoski sat on the sidelines. It led to a number of questions: Would/could BRO endorse Westlund just because of his work on SB1000, despite the fact that his other political stances would most likely make BRO’s allies (unions, pro-choice groups, environmentalists) bristle? Or would they endorse Kulongoski, as a staunch Democrat, even though he wasn’t exactly jumping for joy over Multnomah County’s same-sex marriage licenses and screwed the pooch on civil unions?

I understand that Ted wasn't pulling his weight on the civil unions bill. That much is evident.

But Scott really glosses over what Westlund did with Measure 36. He didn't just sign the paper on the voter's pamphlet. Westlund worked for and voted to deny gays and lesbians the ability to equal access in Oregon.

This stands in contrast to what Westlund articulated to me in our interview:

I can do the big tent thing even while they're bashing me on my tax increases. I can understand and simply disagree with people when they're doing the social conservative thing: prolife vs my prochoice position. I understand those are heartfelt, deeply personal issues. So is the gay rights issue. But wait a minute. Let's not "are you pregnant?" "Should you get an abortion?" "Is that fetus a child or a baby"? Those are different discussions than you're validity as a human being. When you start demonizing not just the gays--you can see it now in the undocumented worker issue. This whole demonizing of whole segments of society. That was the final straw. It isn't just the increasingly espoused dogma that's not good for Oregon. The real tipping point is this increasing intolerance and dissrespect of the family of human beings. That was the big one.

The problem isn't that Kulongoski didn't carry his weight on SB1000. The problem is that Westlund articulates a postion in favor of equal rights for gays and lesbians. But has actually worked counter to achieving that goal.