April 12, 2012 at 1:00 PM
Hargrove defends views on gay marriage, welcomes challenger
State Rep. Mark Hargrove was criticized for his testimony against the same-sex marriage bill in February. But now he says he was speaking for the majority of people in the state and looks forward to the fight against Democrat Bud Sizemore to hold on to his seat.
At the beginning of the year Mark Hargrove, who represents the 47th Legislative District around Auburn and Covington, was a newcomer quietly serving his first term as a state representative. That is until his words against the same-sex marriage bill started getting him a lot of attention.
During the floor debate over the bill Hargrove talked about the Jack in the Box Commercial that appeared during the Super Bowl. In the commercial, a son tells his mother that he’s getting married, not to a woman, but to bacon.
In his speech, Hargrove said: “That mom was realizing that same-sex marriage is not the same as traditional marriage. And that same-sex marriage for her son would not be the best choice for him.”
“Even though I knew I was going to make some people think unfavorably of me,” Hargrove told me last week, “most people know that deep in their hearts, same-sex marriage is not best for society.”
“I know of people who are homosexual,” Hargrove said. “I had an uncle and brother die of AIDS. They are not my enemies, but I have to look out for the best interest of the state.”
Hargrove blames the bill for delaying budget negotiations, which kept the legislative session that was supposed to end on March 8 going all the way up until yesterday, when legislators finally agreed on a budget.
He said that he was able to beat Democratic incumbent Geoff Simpson in 2010 to win his seat because “our district was not being represented well. I think [Simpson] was further left than our constituency.”
This time around Hargrove says he welcomes a challenger for his position.
Bud Sizemore, a firefighter for the City of Kent announced March 13 that he would run for Hargrove’s seat.
“It wasn’t a surprise,” Hargrove said. “I think it’s healthy in a democracy to have folks of different views.”
Sizemore, who served on the Covington City Council and as Mayor Pro-Tem, has raised about $11,000 so far, according to the Public Disclosure Commission, compared to almost $30,000 raised by Hargrove.
The same-sex marriage bill, which squeaked by in the Senate and then easily passed the house (despite Hargrove’s floor speech) was signed into law by Governor Gregoire on February 13.
It will allow same-sex couples in the state to marry beginning June 7. That is, unless opponents can submit enough signatures by June 6 to get either of a referendum and initiative against it onto the ballot.
The redistricted 47th: Old boundaries in red, new in blue. View Larger