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Religious leaders
rally for Washington State gay rights bill

Religious leaders
rally for Washington State gay rights bill

A group of religious leaders gathered Wednesday in Seattle to counter the efforts of a local antigay minister.

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. (

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