Gee and Ursula’s top stories: Bremerton coach, Inslee protecting WA, Pride’s seismic return
MyNorthwest is bringing you highlights from the top stories and discussions from the Gee and Ursula Show on June 27 as Ursula and guest-host Jack Stine tackle the Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of a Bremerton coach, Inslee’s promise to make Washington a sanctuary state for abortion-seekers, and Pride’s big return to Seattle after a three-year hiatus.
Supreme Court finds coach’s prayers constitutional
The Supreme Court has sided with former Bremerton high school football coach, Joseph Kennedy, who was suspended for praying with his players on the field. In a 6-to-3 decision, the high court ruled along ideological lines in favor of Kennedy.
“A covenant that I made with God is after every game, this was before I even started coaching, if I became a coach, I give you the glory on the 50 after every single game,” Kennedy said in an earlier interview on KIRO, explaining why praying is so important to him on the football field.
In writing for the conservative majority, Justice Neil Gorsuch said the Bremerton school district misconstrued the First Amendment and suppressed coach Kennedy’s right to pray on the field out of concern he’d coerce students to follow his lead. Gorsuch’s opinion called that discrimination as Coach Kennedy’s postgame prayer was private speech, not government speech.
“Some parents had complained that even though he said it was voluntary, they felt like he could potentially make their players feel like they had to,” Ursula said. “Or else maybe they wouldn’t get enough playing time where they wouldn’t be seen with favor by this coach, because the coach is very influential.”
The court’s three liberals dissented, saying the ruling now calls into question decades of past decisions on the separation between church and state.
“For me, the issue is the separation of church and state. And does this weaken that barrier?” asked Ursula. “There’s been a lot of talk about the attack on Christianity. But again, like you just mentioned, let’s say this was a different religion, if the coach wanted to pull up a Quran after the games, would you feel differently? Is it because they got it right or because you believe in this particular religion? Are you going to have a different opinion if it’s a different religion?”
Inslee envisions WA as ‘sanctuary state’
Over the weekend, people carried signs that read “abortion is health care” as protestors rallied in Olympia over the Supreme Court decision Friday overturning Roe v. Wade.
Governor Inslee called the decision un-American as he promised to fight for a state constitutional amendment protecting the right to an abortion.
“I have yet to see a study that shows that more restrictions on abortion actually leads to fewer abortions. It’s the contrary, with every single study that has been done, I have yet to see anything,” Ursula said. “As I’ve explained before, I’m not pro-abortion, I am definitely pro-choice. It is not a decision that I would have made for myself, but I am not going to pretend that I know what women go through when they have to make such a difficult decision.”
Some of Washington’s biggest employers pledged to make sure their workers would continue to have access to reproductive health care, including Alaska Airlines, Microsoft, Starbucks, and Zillow. Certain companies are even covering reimbursements for travel to have certain medical procedures and treatments if they are not available where you live.
“I like the fact that the companies are taking a stand, which is something I don’t often say. But in this particular issue, Tesla, Disney, Alaska Airlines, etc, I mean, just a bunch of different companies came out and said that they would facilitate this,” said Jack Stine, guest host for the Gee and Ursula Show. “I think it just goes to show how nearly 70% of Americans agree that a woman should have access to an abortion to some degree or another.”
Pride takes over Seattle, feud with cops ongoing
It was a big celebration downtown as thousands of people gathered for the first in-person Seattle Pride Festival in three years. The parade started at 11 a.m. Sunday, taking over several blocks of 4th Avenue for hours.
More than 20,000 people signed up to march in this year’s parade, but for the first time in decades, Seattle police officers were barred from marching in uniform. In an open letter, interim chief Adrian Diaz called the decision especially hurtful because other city workers would be allowed to take part in uniform.
“I just heard from one of our listeners, Brian, who is a gay man who attended pride. And he said, I thanked several officers at pride for being there to look after us,” Ursula said. “One of the officers looked almost surprised or confused, that someone would thank them for being there. That kind of made me sad.”
Seattle Pride maintained its stance, stating in a press release in response to Diaz’s letter that the “SPD effectively put a spotlight on the LGBTQIA+ community for those who share ideologies with hate groups, and is inviting a repeat of targeted threats and violence against our community as we prepare for our first in-person celebration in three years.”
“I felt that was a self-inflicted injury and was disappointed when I read about that. Just with everything going on, I was like, really? Can’t we all just celebrate this really cool event that’s going to be the first time in-person after these many years,” Ursula said. So, I was worried that it was going to be a bust, but I mean, from all the people that I’ve spoken with who either attended or just witnessed it, it was pretty rocking.”
Listen to Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin weekday mornings from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.