Brian Hatfield, a state senator from Washington's 19th District, has a history of doing exactly that.
What royally pisses me off is the condescending response he sent a friend of mine - one of his constituents - when she expressed her support for a bill that would create just a few domestic partnership rights for Washington state citizens.
His comments to her basically said the bill - mind you, a civil rights bill - wasn't a big deal and that he needed to focus on "what's important" for Washington. He and his spouse have all the rights they need, so screw everyone else:
I am extremely torn over these types of measures.
I believe they take way too much time and focus away
health care, job creation, etc... ...the things the
state REALLY needs
to be focusing on. I opposed DOMA legislation in
the mid-90s, because
it was clearly a "for politics only" attack from the
far right, and a
complete waste of time. Because of my previous
votes, many people
assume I will be an automatic "yes" vote on 5336 or
However, at this time, I really can't tell you how I
will vote IF (and
that's a pretty big "IF") these bills make it to the
Again, preventing discrimination and protecting
and freedoms will be the test I apply to these
Thank you for contacting me.
Mind you, he was so "torn" that he sent an identical reply to everyone I know who wrote him in favor of this bill. Except me; he didn't reply to this:
Your constituent (name witheld) forwarded me your response to her inquiry about your stance on the domestic partnership bill.
You have always struck me as fair and reasonable. That's why I was shocked that you don't think that ensuring all Washingtonians have the most basic civil rights, that you take for granted as a heterosexual, are "what the state needs to be focusing on."
Yes, you voted against DOMA, and that was admirable.
But consider this: what if you were unable to visit your spouse in the hospital? Or unable to leave her your property in your will? Or unsure if she would be granted custody of your children in case something happened to you? None of these rights are guaranteed to unmarried and same-sex couples. It's not theoretical for them; it's harsh reality.
Furthermore, as same-sex couples aren't allowed to marry in the state of Washington, this legislation is the only vehicle they have to gain some of the few rights that you and I take for granted.
It is unjust, unfair and unconstitutional that anyone must live with these potentially life-changing uncertainties every day.
What reason would you possibly have for denying your constituents these rights?
I urge you to support any and all efforts toward more inclusive domestic partnership legislation.
Jr. Woodchuckette (names may have been changed)
In the meantime, if you think he's ignoring a critical issue, let him know!
State Sen. Brian Hatfield
105 John L. O'Brien Building
Olympia, WA 98504-0600