While speaking to a group of Pierce County Republicans in February of this year, Republican gubernatorial candidate Dave Reichert declared that "marriage is between a man and a woman," expressing a stance on gay marriage we haven't seen from him since he proved himself as an anti-gay bigot in Congress. 

What's a little bit wild here is that Reichert went out of his way to provide this homophobic answer, as he delivered the line in the context of a larger transphobic rant spurred by a series of questions from Dawn Land, who ran an unsuccessful campaign to gather signatures to repeal a law that helps stabilize homeless youth and connect them with the care they need to survive.

At the meeting, Land asked how Reichert defines "a woman," and then she asked whether he supports gender-affirming care and allowing trans kids to play on sports teams that align with their gender identity, though she didn't quite use that language. Here's the full video of his chat with the Pierce County Republicans: 

In response to those questions, Reichert said, "Number one, my wife is a woman and I am a man. You’re a woman and I'm a man. There’s only man and woman. I was raised with that as a Christian. And marriage is between a man and a woman."

The audience clapped after that line, and he briefly paused to receive the adulation. He then thanked the people in attendance before moving on to say, "I don’t believe that transgender men should be competing against girls and women in sports."

Then he got lost in the sauce a bit, appearing to confuse the parents' rights initiative that Democrats in the State Legislature adopted this year with Land's failed bid to repeal 5599, before concluding his discursive ramble with some information about his great-grandchild's excitement to attend "a private school for Christians." 

In a statement, Reichert said, "Let me make this very clear. I will not take any steps as Governor to restrict same-sex marriage. Every individual has the right to decide who they choose to marry. People have free will—it’s their body, their life, their belief system."

So he says! But his statements tell us a few other things about the man who currently leads the fundraising race on the Republican side. 

The first thing they tell us is that Reichert does not believe that trans people exist. His comments about "transgender men" competing against "girls and women" simply underline that belief while adding insult to injury. Moreover, his support for Land's failed initiative shows us that he takes his science lessons from the Bible rather than from the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Psychiatric Association, all of whom support gender-affirming care. 

The other thing they tell us is that Riechert is out of step with the 72% of Washingtonians who support marriage equality, an issue that's long since settled in Washington state but that remains under threat to this day. And the fact that he bent over backwards to deliver the old-school anti-gay-marriage line gives us a sense of just how deep homophobia runs in this man who is doing all he can to present himself as the "moderate" Republican choice. 

On social media and in a fundraising email, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Bob Ferguson attacked Riechert for his answers, but he focused solely on Reichert's homophobic statements. When asked why he didn't mention the anti-trans statements on those platforms, someone from the campaign said Ferguson was focusing on one message at a time and planned to hit Reichert on many of his right-wing positions throughout the campaign. 

In a statement, Ferguson said, "I have a long record of protecting the civil rights of transgender individuals in our state. Congressman Reichert denies their existence." 

In an email, Washington State Democratic Party Chair Shasti Conrad said, "Washington state has no place for hate. As one of the first states to codify the equal right to marry for any two consenting adults, we cannot allow hate to take root in the Governor’s seat. This is just another example of how out of touch Dave Reichert is with today’s Washingtonians and should be disqualifying. Our state’s economic prosperity and cultural fabric are made richer by the deep and meaningful contributions of our LGBTQIA+ family members, coworkers, friends, and neighbors. We must have a Governor who understands the full worth of all of our communities and is committed to ensuring that their rights and bodies are protected under the law.”