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November 13, 2013 at 11:54 AM
A 16-year-old immigration activist from Redmond High School was one of two girls who confronted House Speaker John Boehner over the issue of immigration reform as he tried to get breakfast on Capitol Hill Wednesday morning.
Jennifer Martinez, who is a U.S. citizen, is active in the OneAmerica Youth Program, which engages high school students across the Puget Sound region on immigration issues.
She and her companion, Carmen Lima, 13, of California, told Boehner that as a father he might understand what it’s like to be separated from his children, the way many undocumented immigrant parents are.
Boehner responded: “Well, I’m trying to find some way to get this thing done. It’s, uh, you know, not easy — not gonna be an easy path forward. But I’ve made it clear since the day after the election that it’s time to get this done.”
The video made its way quickly to national TV and the Internet.
Within hours of his conversation with the girls, Boehner told reporters at a Capitol Hill news conference: “I’ll make clear we have no intention of ever going to conference on the Senate bill,” referring to a sweeping immigration measure that was passed by the Senate this summer.
Immigrant advocates, religious and labor groups and employers have been trying to pressure Boehner to take up an immigration bill pending in the House and have been calling House Republicans, urging them to support it.
That bill, which would provide a path to citizenship for the more than 11 million unauthorized immigrants in this country, is similar to the one passed in the Senate.
U.S. Catholics across the country, and here in Washington state, are being encouraged to call their lawmakers Wednesday to ask for their support.
About 13 people were risking arrest outside the Spokane offices of Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Spokane, in an act of civil disobedience similar to one that led to last week’s arrest of 33 women who refused to leave the Bellevue offices of the Washington State Republican Party.
March 6, 2013 at 3:18 PM
“Regardless of the past actions that led to undocumented students arriving in our state, we have the opportunity to affect their future and ours. Our state has the ability to change the outcome of their stories and give them the tools they need.”
That statement, urging support for legislation in Olympia to allow undocumented immigrant students access to state financial aid, could easily have been lifted from the brochure of some immigrant advocacy group.
Instead it was included in a recent op-ed piece in the Yakima Herald by two Republican lawmakers from Eastern Washington – Reps. Bruce Chandler and Charles Ross.
True, Republican support for immigration isn’t new or even all that surprising, particularly in this state and in light of the results of the November elections. But the evolution of House Bill 1817 is still worthy of note.
A year ago, the same bill didn’t get a single hearing.
Last month, more than 100 people who signed up to testify on it in two House committees and not a single voice was raised in opposition.
A total of eight Republicans – many, though not all, from the state’s immigrant-dependent farming areas – voted in favor of the bill. Chandler and Ross are included among the bill’s 32 sponsors.
And there is other evidence of Republican support on immigration.
On Tuesday, more than 40 groups announced formation of a compact to push for immigration policy changes in Congress.
Included among supporters are former Republican Congressman Sid Morrison, Dale Foreman, a former state lawmaker, former chairman of the state Republican Party and one-time Republican candidate for governor. Former state Republican Party chairman Chris Vance is one of the group’s spokespeople.
Of course, House Bill 1718 is far from a fait accompli.
While supporters say they feel confident it could survive the upcoming floor vote in the House, the Senate, controlled by a Republican-led caucus, could be another story entirely.
November 9, 2012 at 12:45 PM
Cupcake Royale, the Capitol Hill bakeshop that raised more than $7,000 to help get Referendum 74 passed, is offering a free slice of what it’s calling “the World’s Biggest Rainbow Cake in the shape of Washington State” at 3 p.m. today.
Same-sex marriage was approved in Washington state this week, something owner Jody Hall said “is truly a cause for celebration.”
November 7, 2012 at 1:27 PM
Washington United for Marriage, the campaign seeking to legalize same-sex marriage in our state, has crunched the numbers and is declaring victory in Tuesday night’s election for Referendum 74.
With hundreds of thousands of ballots still to be counted, the measure is currently ahead 52 to 48.
Meanwhile, the opposing campaign, Preserve Marriage Washington, is urging caution. The Seattle Times has yet to call this race.
November 6, 2012 at 8:35 PM
Washington voters were saying yes to the state’s same-sex marriage measure, echoing apparent victories in other states with gay-marriage measures on the ballot.
Referendum 74 was leading in initial vote counts Tuesday night 53 percent to 47 percent. In King County, it was ahead 65 percent to 35 percent.
If the law ultimately passes, it would take effect Dec. 6.
Voters in Maine and Maryland were also approving gay-marriage laws, and in Minnestota, they were rejecting a constitutional ban against it.
November 6, 2012 at 7:17 PM
Very early election results show voters approving same-sex marriage in Maine and Maryland and rejecting a constitutional ban against it in Minnesota.
The states were among four with same-sex ballot measures. Results on Washington’s Referendum 74 are not yet available.
November 5, 2012 at 12:48 PM
More than 40 members of the Washington State Bar Association have signed a letter asking the organization’s board of governors to publicly revoke its endorsement of Referendum 74, the statewide same-sex marriage ballot measure, saying such support violates the organization’s bylaws.
In an Oct. 17 letter, the 42 attorneys also demanded the organization refund or allow future deduction of the portion of their dues attributable to activities in support of Ref. 74. Many state attorneys, it said, “oppose same-sex marriage and therefore disagree with, dissent from and object to” the board’s position on Ref. 74.
Bellevue attorney Chris Evans, who wrote the letter on behalf of the others, called the board’s endorsement “mission creep.”
In September, the board passed a resolution supporting Ref. 74, and in a subsequent letter to its more than 29,000 members explained the decision was based on several principles, including the understanding that equal access to the rights and responsibilities of civil marriage is a matter of justice.
Debra Carnes, spokeswoman for the bar association, said the organization has received several emails from attorneys who object to or support the bar’s position. She said there’s a process for members to file a petition if they want to affect any policy enacted by the board.
The attorneys who signed the letter cited the 1990 case of Keller v State Bar of California, in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that attorneys who are required to be members of a state bar association have a First Amendment right to refrain from subsidizing the organization’s political or ideological activities.
Under Keller, they say, the bar is not allowed to engage in activities that are “of a political or ideological nature that are not necessarily or reasonably related to regulating the legal profession or improving the quality of legal services to the public.” Ref. 74, they argue, falls within that category.
In a letter responding to the members, the board’s president said the organization has consistently found that issues like Ref. 74 do affect the practice of law and the administration of justice. It said Keller does not prohibit the bar from taking positions on any issue, but rather forbids it from using mandatory member fees to support such positions. It offered the attorneys the option of deducting from their dues an amount ranging from 98 cents to $6.40.
October 23, 2012 at 3:12 PM
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday rejected a claim by gay-rights opponents who, three years ago, sought to shield from release the names of those who signed Referendum 71 petitions.
Protect Marriage Washington, the campaign seeking at the time to repeal a portion of the state’s domestic partnership law, had argued that releasing the names of signers would subject them to harassment.
The court on Tuesday said the plaintiffs failed to show that disclosing the signatures is “reasonably likely to result in retaliation against those who signed” and noted that preventing the Secretary of State from continuing to fulfill requests for signatures would be meaningless since the names are already available on the internet.
Essentially, the court said, the case is moot.
The challenge by Protect Marriage Washington, Doe v Reed, began in 2009 in the middle of the Ref. 71 campaign and turned into a full-on legal battle that reached to the U.S. Supreme Court in 2010.
The signatures have been publicly available since October 2011. Read the Secretary of State’s account here.
October 23, 2012 at 11:03 AM
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and his wife, Melinda, have donated $500,000 to the campaign to legalize gay marriage in Washington state.
The contribution – $250,000 from each of the Gateses – comes with two weeks left in the campaign season and is in addition to $100,000 that Bill Gates donated to Washington United for Marriage in June.
The donation brings the amount the campaign has raised to just under $11 million, according to records filed with the Public Disclosure Commission.
Washington voters are being asked to either approve or reject gay marriage through Referendum 74, which appears on the Nov. 6 ballot.
Most Washingtonians have already received their ballots in the mail and some have already mailed them in.
October 22, 2012 at 1:13 PM
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has issued a challenge to supporters of gay marriage in Washington state to match a $250,000 donation he has pledged.
Bloomberg, a wealthy philanthropist and strong advocate of same-sex marriage, also issued $125,000 challenges to each of the gay marriage campaigns in Maine and Minnesota, where the question is also on the Nov. 6 ballot.
Earlier this month, the mayor donated $250,000 to the Maryland campaign.
Voters in Washington, Maryland and Maine will be asked to approve or reject gay marriage while those in Minnesota will decide whether to ban such unions in their state constitution.
In a statement issued Monday, Bloomberg said, “I was proud to support the successful push for marriage equality in New York State, and I’m proud to stand with supporters around the country.
“I do not believe that government has any business telling one class of couples that they cannot marry.”
Last week, Bloomberg announced formation of a new effort to support local, state and federal candidates and referenda across the country that hold positions similar to his in areas of illegal weapons, education reform and marriage equality.
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