When you have no valid argument against a bill, I guess you resort to hyperbole and hope nobody will notice the anti-gay animus motivating you. Washington state Senator Dan Swecker opposes HB 1267, a bill that would update the Uniform Parentage Act of 2002 by “clarifying and expanding the rights and obligations of state registered domestic partners and other couples related to parentage”. Senator Swecker is a long-time anti-gay activist.
Here’s an excerpt of a letter that Senator Swecker sent out to fellow anti-gay activists this week, pleading for their help in stopping the bill. He’s got all the prime cuts of anti-gay red meat in there, calling gay families unnatural and implying that gays will perpetrate forced pregnancy, human trafficking and slavery. (bold emphasis added throughout this post)
HB 1267 addresses the fact that in our society today, the traditional family with one mother and one father is slowly being eroded. The natural way to have children with one father and one mother has given way to in virto fertilization, same sex parents, and surrogacy. The bill attempts to clarify who and when a person is considered a parent, and who has the rights to a child.
This bill, however, turns pregnancy and having babies into a money-making business. Especially vulnerable, are women who might be under-privileged and see surrogacy as a way to make a few dollars. Worse still are those who would force a woman to do so. Our state has been struggling with the very real and horrific problems of human trafficking, and we have been trying to pass legislation in an attempt to curb this practice. By making it legal to pay for a woman to get pregnant and carry a child for someone else, we are opening up yet another avenue for those who would use their fellow humans as slaves.
Surrogacy is legal in Washington state but remains unregulated. The current bill would put into place needed legal and financial safeguards for the women who choose to be surrogates as well as for the intended parents (many of whom are straight, but the way). The House has already passed the bill by a solid margin of 57 to 41. The bill is scheduled for a March 15th public hearing in the Senate Committee on Government Operations and Tribal Relations & Elections at 1:30 PM.
During the House floor debate, bill supporter Representative Mary Lou Dickerson put the surrogacy portion of the bill into proper perspective with this level-headed assessment: (TVW video starting at 1:18:15)
A little over a year ago when the prime sponsor brought the concept of the bill to me, I was a little dubious. I was thinking about vulnerability of these women who would be the surrogates, and I brought up a number of issues. And I see that all of these issues have been incorporated into the bill.
The woman has to be 21 years of age or older. She has to have had a pregnancy before. She has to have independent council – someone who’s looking out for her and only her. She has to have all manner of insurance. I don’t see this woman as vulnerable.
I’ve heard a lot of talk on the floor about vulnerable women and the high chance of disability. And I think to some extent these words don’t describe the normal, common pregnancy. I’ve been pregnant. A lot of my friends have been pregnant. And I can tell you that it’s a very normal part of life, people. Very, very normal.
…I think that we should believe in the women of this state who can make up their own minds about whether or not they want to get pregnant.
Senator Swecker sent his letter to the usual anti-gay suspects, and naturally they’re snapping at the red meat with relish. Gary Randall of Faith and Freedom Network writes “WA Senate to Consider Selling Babies“, Joseph Backholm from Family Policy Institute of Washington asks “Will Washington Allow the Sale of People?” and Cindy Honcoop of Washington Eagle Forum claims that the “Bill Redefines Family in WA State“.
Cindy Honcoop made her true reason for opposing the bill, anti-gay animus, obvious in her first sentence:
Introduced by homosexual activist Rep. Jamie Pedersen HB 1267 modifies current law related to parentage removing gender designations from parental references throughout current law related to parents to accommodate same-sex, state-registered domestic partners.
Likewise, after invoking “chattel” Gary Randall makes clear that his motivation for opposing the bill is his fundamental opposition to anything that might benefit gay people:
While the homosexual activists in the legislature are presenting the bill as a “common sense, clarification” bill, it is much more than that. Representatives Jamie Pederson, Moeller, Liias and others are driving this bill as part of their vision for the homosexual agenda. Please notice the list of 53 names of sponsorship on the bill.
It is ironic that Randall would draw attention to the huge number of bill co-sponsors. There are only 6 out gay or lesbian legislators in the Washington legislature. So with 53 co-sponsors, if this bill is part of any agenda it is the popular Washington agenda of treating all Washington families fairly and equally.
Recall that when this bill was before the House, Joseph Backholm of the Family Policy Institute of Washington took aim at it because it “would extend…presumption [of parenthood] to same-sex relationships, so that a child could be legally presumed to have a second mother”. Given the House’s vote for the bill, that line of attack was unsuccessful. Now Backholm is passing along Sen. Swecker’s hyperbolic anti-gay letter to supporters.
Notable for his absence in this round of anti-gay activity is Pastor Joe Fuiten. Undoubtedly this is because Sen. Swecker’s letter demonizes in vitro fertilization, a direct snub of Pastor Fuiten’s “freezer baby” embryo adoption service.
Washington state residents wishing to ask their senator to support HB 1267 can contact them by calling the Legislative Hotline at 1-800-562-6000. A public hearing of this bill has been scheduled for Tuesday, March 15th at 1:30 pm in the Senate Government Operations, Tribal Relations & Elections Committee.