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Washington State activists push pro-gay bill on TV

Washington State activists push pro-gay bill on TV

Hoping to revive a gay rights bill in the Washington state senate, a group called Equal Rights Washington has produced television ads urging legislators to pass the bill. House Bill 1515 would ban discrimination against gays and lesbians in housing, insurance, and jobs. It's been introduced, and has failed, for 30 years in the state legislature. The house passed it this year, but it's stuck in a senate committee. The legislative session is scheduled to end April 24. Starting Tuesday, the ads will run on cable television in the districts of Sen. Tom Sheldon (D-Potlatch) and Sen. Dave Schmidt (R-Mill Creek), who both voted recently to send the bill back to committee. Equal Rights Washington spokesman Dan Kully said the group also plans to target Sen. Bill Finkbeiner (R-Kirkland), Sen. Alex Deccio (R-Yakima), and Sen. Mike Hewitt (R-Walla Walla). All are moderates who, bill supporters believe, could be persuaded to switch sides and help revive the gay civil rights measure. It's rare to see television ads about issues before the state legislature, mostly because of the cost involved. Kully said Equal Rights Washington is spending $25,000 on the TV ads and could double that with help from national organizations. "A couple of state senators are standing in the way of Washingtonians, who overwhelmingly want the antidiscrimination bill passed," George Cheung, executive director of Equal Rights Washington, said Monday in a news release. "It's time, once and for all, to end discrimination and treat everyone equally." (AP)

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