WA State Senate Staffer Says Gays Can Go "Grow Their Own Food"
A staff person for Washington state Senator Mike Hewitt (R-Walla Walla) recently told a Washington blogger that LGBT individuals can fend for themselves when they are denied services under a recently proposed bill.
Jay Castro, a reader of the Washington blog column Slog at The Stranger, called Senator Hewitt's office to ask about his sponsorship of SB 5927, which would allow people to refuse to provide services and discriminate against LGBT people because of "sincerely held religious beliefs." Castro asked an unidentified staffer, "What are rural gays supposed to do if the only gas station or grocery store for miles won't sell them gas and food?" Hewitt's staffer responded to Castro, "Well, gay people can just grow their own food" (emphasis added).
When Slog blogger Anna Minard attempted to call the office for clarification, she was hung up on three times by staffers before being told "It was a poor response to a question, that's really all I want to say about that. [Castro] caught me at a bad time; I'm not interested in answering hypotheticals. It was a combative call. Patience was lost, mistakes were made, and that's it." The spokesperson said that the staffer's comment was not representative of Hewitt's views on the proposal.
Media Resources: Huffington Post 4/29/2013; ThinkProgress 4/29/2013; Slog 4/26/2013
11/20/2014 Federal Appeals Court Rejects Priests for Life Challenge to Birth Control Coverage Rule - In a victory for women's health, a unanimous panel of the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit on Friday rejected a challenge to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) contraceptive coverage benefit brought by Priests for Life, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Washington and other religiously affiliated non-profit organizations.
Judge Nina Pillard, a former law professor who was nominated to the DC Circuit by President Obama and confirmed by the Senate in December, wrote the opinion for the Court, which found that the ACA birth control benefit did not substantially burden or violate non-profits' religious freedom.
Under the Affordable Care Act, health insurance companies must cover the full cost of all FDA-approved contraceptives - including the pill, IUDs, and emergency contraception - without requiring co-pays or cost-sharing. . . .