Washington’s right wing renews attack on rights of transgender individuals with do-over discrimination initiative

Threat Analysis

As expected, the fundamentalists responsible for last year’s failed initiative to repeal protections for transgender individuals are making another attempt to get on the ballot.

This morning, Kristi Meritt and Cassandra Nelson filed an initiative to the people for 2017 that requires school districts across Washington State to discriminate against transgender individuals by adopting policies that force students use a bathroom/washroom on the basis of their anatomy as opposed to their gender. The measure does not yet have an official ballot title or a number.

“Sadly, Washington’s right wing is once again seeking to roll back our civil rights by filing another discriminatory initiative,” said Northwest Progressive Institute founder and Executive Director Andrew Villeneuve. “We have a message for them: Washington won’t discriminate. We at NPI stand ready to work with fellow caring Washingtonians to defeat this do-over initiative and ensure that transgender individuals can continue to use facilities designated for the gender that they identify as.”

“Our opponents’ lack of tolerance, empathy, and understanding is truly shameful and embarrassing, and in conflict with the values that our state was founded on. The last decade of civil rights advances for LGBT individuals have expanded freedom for all in our great state, and shall be defended. We will not go backward; we must go forward.”

“Our movement has a strong track record of stopping past attempts to roll back protections for LGBT individuals. We successfully fought Referendum 65 in 2006, ensured that our civil union and marriage equality laws subjected to referenda in 2009 and 2012 were approved, and defeated I-1515 last year. We are confident that we can prevail again, uniting Washingtonians behind our finest traditional values as we educate and empower our fellow citizens about the need for protection of transgender rights.”

For 2017, initiatives to the people must contain the signatures of at least 259,622 registered voters and be submitted no later than 5:00 pm on July 7, 2017 — six months from now. The Secretary of State recommends that sponsors submit at least 325,000 signatures to allow for invalid signatures.

The signature requirement has gone up since last year due to an increase in the number of people who voted for governor in 2016. But any group with sufficient funds can buy their way onto the ballot, no matter the issue. Permanent Defense will be closely tracking and opposing this I-1515 do-over from now until the Fourth of July, when it will hopefully fail to qualify. If not, we will be prepared to fight it on the ballot.

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