Washington Hub

Pastor Ken Hutcherson Dies

Pastor Ken Hutcherson, Washington state's lead crusader against same-sex marriage and former Seattle Seahawk, has died, Antioch Bible Church reports:

HutchersonAntioch Bible Church sadly announces that shortly before noon today our Senior Pastor Dr. Ken Hutcherson was ushered into the presence of the Lord. Please pray for comfort and peace for the family. The family asked that you give them some privacy at this time. Please no phone calls or visit.

Hutcherson battled prostate cancer for more than a decade, the Seattle Times reports:

His slogan was “Black and White in a Gray World.” Colleagues said that summed up both his conviction that Christians from all ethnicities, social and economic backgrounds should feel comfortable worshiping together and his belief that God’s word is immutable and unchanging.

His supporters described him as a funny and happy person — remaining jovial even through prostate cancer — who had been mischaracterized as a hate-filled preacher.

His detractors, however, mostly in the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community,  considered him a bully who used religion to campaign against the rights of gays to marry.

Fourth Openly Gay Man Appointed To Washington House

Brady Wilkinshaw

After Ed Murray was elected to mayor of Seattle last month, his position in the 43rd Legislative District state Senate was left vacant. State representative Jamie Pedersen ran for the seat more or less unopposed and as a result his seat in the state House has been filled by Cuban-American and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation officer Brady Walkinshaw.

Wilkinshaw is now the fourth openly gay man in a row to be elected to the state House, with Pedersen before him being openly gay, as well as Pedersen's predecessors Ed Murray and Cal Anderson. On Wilkinshaw's platform were the advancement of gay rights as well as passing the Voting Rights Act, which failed the last time it was in Olympia. During the Q&A he noted that Yakima's seven-member citywide council did not have a single Latino representative despite Latinos comprising over 40% of the population, suggesting that Wilkinshaw could help usher in more cultural diversity among Seattle's lawmakers.

Gay Weddings Made Up Seventeen Percent Of Washington Weddings Last Year

6a00d8341c730253ef019b01a8a332970c-250wiLast November, Washington's Referendum 74 passed in a "clear win" for marriage equality, making the Evergreen State the first in the Pacific Northwest to legalize gay marriage. According to the AP, more than 7,000 same-sex couples were married in Washington State in the last year, the first year in which it was legal for same-sex couples to legally do so:

So far, most of the state's same sex marriages, 62 percent, were between two women.

The top five counties where same sex marriages took place are King, Clark, Pierce, Snohomish and Thurston counties. Garfield County is the only county where no same sex marriages were performed.

As previously reported, the state's LGBT friendly marriage laws have also helped to drive tourism as many people from nearby Oregon as well as other parts of the county are coming to Washington to make it official. Roughly 25% of the gay couples who were married in Washington this past year came from out of state. Of those, the largest contingent was comprised of Oregonians. 

Gay Couples in Oregon Flocking Across Border to Washington State to Legally Marry

With Oregon now recognizing all legal out-of-state marriages, gay couples there have been flocking to neighboring Washington state for their nuptials. The Columbian reports:

Washington signBizarre or just businesslike, the new legal loophole amounts to a bistate bridge that's carrying loads of same-sex couples across the border from hoping to hitched. Clark County marriage license applications jumped by nearly 50 percent in the 12 business days after Oregon's Oct. 18 legal decision, according to a hand count by The Columbian. Two-thirds of all licenses after that day were for same-sex couples and 90 percent of those were from out of state -- the vast majority from Oregon. 

The Columbian reports that many of these couples are holding their wedding ceremony at a Clark County church that has made a name for itself as a gay wedding destination for out-of-staters: First Congregational United Church of Christ.

First Congregational United Church of ChristThe moment the Oregon decision went public, church administrator Kate Woolley started fielding a steady stream of calls from same-sex Oregon couples. For the past few weeks, Woolley said, she's been taking wedding bookings for nothing but same-sex, out-of-state couples.

"Many of them are from UCC churches in Oregon who still can't get married there," said the Rev. Brooks Berndt. "But not all of them. A number don't have any particular religious affiliation but know they do want to get married in a Christian church."

Overall, marriage license applications in Clark Country have set monthly records every month since Washington legalized gay marriage last year. Marriage equality organization in Oregon are currently gathering signatures for a proposed 2014 ballot measure that would bring same-sex marriage to the state. 

Ed Murray Declares Victory in Seattle Mayoral Race, Will Be City's First Out Gay Mayor: VIDEO


Ed Murray, an 18-year veteran of Washington's legislature and an architect of Washington state's marriage equality law, declared victory in the Seattle mayoral race on Tuesday night, defeating incumbent mayor Mike McGinn. He'll be the city's first openly gay mayor.

The Seattle Times reports:

Murray grabbed a commanding 56 percent of the votes counted on election night, compared with 43 percent for McGinn.

At a jubilant party at Neumos on Capitol Hill, Murray took the stage before 9 p.m. to cheers and hugs from supporters, including a pack of elected leaders who’d endorsed him.

Signaling the change in tone he hopes to bring to City Hall, Murray said his campaign “was energized by the belief that Seattle can show the nation that government can work once again.”

Although he acknowledged votes remain to be counted, Murray said if current trends hold, “we are here tonight to declare victory.”

About 90,000 votes were counted in the mayor’s race Tuesday. If King County elections officials’ estimate of 57 percent turnout in Seattle hold, McGinn would have to capture 54 percent or more of the remaining votes to make up his big deficit — a virtually impossible task.

Watch raw video from KIRO, AFTER THE JUMP...

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11-Year-Old Brought Gun to School, Planned to Shoot Classmate for Calling Friend 'Gay': VIDEO


A Vancouver, Washington mother's call to school administrators may have foiled her son's plan to kill a fellow classmate, KPTV reports:

The mother of an 11-year-old boy called school administrators to report her son may have taken kitchen knives to school, and that's what led police to find 400 rounds of ammunition and a gun in his possession, according to court documents released Thursday.

Vancouver police school resource officers detained the boy at Frontier Middle School on Wednesday at 9 a.m. after the mother's phone call. They said they found a .22 caliber handgun in his front pants pocket.

Detectives interviewed school administrators, and were told the boy said a voice in his head was telling him to kill a classmate for calling his friend gay, the court documents said.

In a later interview with police, the boy told detectives he planned to shoot his classmate in the arm, and then shoot himself in the head.

The boy is being held on charges of first-degree attempted assault, unlawful possession of a firearm and possession of a dangerous weapon on school facilities.

Watch KPTV's report, AFTER THE JUMP...

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