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Politics Northwest

The Seattle Times political team explores national, state and local politics.

October 30, 2014 at 4:17 PM

‘Pray Your Gay Away’? Celis says Democrats distort his views

Mailers showing up in the 1st Congressional District attack Republican congressional candidate Pedro Celis over his past statements on abortion and gay marriage.

But Celis’ campaign says the pieces, sent by the state Democratic Party in support of U.S. Rep. Suzan DelBene, are over the top and distort his views.

The pieces say Celis’ views on marriage are “stuck in the 1950s” and show a cartoonish drawing of a woman pointing to a book or sign declaring “Pray Your Gay Away.” There is no evidence Celis, who supports civil unions for same-sex couples, has ever said anything like that.


Zach Werrell, Celis’ campaign manager called the fliers “hysterical” and “nonsensical” in an emailed statement.

“Pedro has been on the record for years for supporting civil unions for gay and lesbian couples — a position that is a compromise and respects the beliefs of both the left and the right. Suzan DelBene purports to represent ALL of her constituents, but clearly is only interested in representing the party line from the left,” Werrell wrote.

Until a couple years ago, support for civil unions, but not same-sex marriage, was the public position of many prominent Democrats, including President Obama, Hillary Clinton and Jay Inslee.

State Democratic Party Chair Jaxon Ravens defended the piece, noting the “Pray Your Gay Away” line is not attributed to Celis but is meant as a “visually striking element.” The crux of the piece, he said, was to draw attention to a comment Celis made earlier this year comparing gay marriage with polygamy.

In June, speaking with reporters after a campaign event in Everett, Celis called marriage “something more for religion to decide. Is this marriage or not? Polygamy – is it fine or not?”

The Democratic mailer mocks that statement incredulously and in red letters: “Polygamy?”

It also accuses Celis of opposing a woman’s right to choose, “in consultation with her doctor, whether to have an abortion.” And it hits Celis for supporting the Supreme Court’s controversial Hobby Lobby decision, which said closely-held corporations can refuse to cover certain contraceptives on religious grounds.

Celis has said he’s “pro life” but has added he understands states like Washington already have passed laws protecting a woman’s right to choose. He has downplayed social issues during the campaign and declined to say at the Everett event this year how he’d vote on such matters in Congress.

Comments | More in 2014 elections, Congressional races, Politics Northwest | Topics: 1st Congressional District, Pedro Celis, U.S. Rep. Suzan


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