Religious leaders
rally for Washington State gay rights bill

A group of
religious leaders rallied in favor of gay rights in Seattle
on Wednesday to counter the efforts of the notoriously
antigay minister Ken Hutcherson and his supporters,
the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports. About
30 people of various faiths gathered at the entrance
to Lake Washington High School to support long-stymied
legislation that would outlaw discrimination on the basis of
sexual orientation.

The group also
met "to counter the very loud voices by a very few
fundamentalist religious leaders" who oppose the bill, which
was narrowly defeated this past year in the state
legislature and is expected to be reintroduced in the
upcoming session, said Robert Jacobs, Northwest
regional director of the Anti-Defamation League.

Jacobs later said
he was referring to Hutcherson—whose Antioch Bible
Church meets at the high school—and Rabbi Daniel
Lapin of Mercer Island. He is president of Toward
Tradition, a national coalition of Jews and
Christians. "They speak so if they represent the
word of God," Jacobs told the
Post-Intelligencer. But the Christian, Jewish,
and Muslim clergy and laypeople at the news conference
showed a different religious perspective, he said.

In April the
state senate defeated HB1515 by one vote after the
measure had passed the house. State law prohibits
discrimination based on race, gender, age, religion,
marital status, and other factors. The bill would have
added sexual orientation to the list. Microsoft Corp.
initially supported the bill, then pulled back—before
Hutcherson threatened to organize a national boycott
of Microsoft products, the software company said.
Hutcherson maintained that Microsoft shifted only
after he voiced his threat, an allegation Microsoft has
denied. (

Tags: World, World

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