Tag Archives: I-1515

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.

It’s a great day for Washington: I-1515’s failure means zero right wing initiatives on the November ballot

Ballot Watchdogging

Shortly after the close of business today, word came down from Secretary of State Kim Wyman’s office that backers of Initiative 1515 had canceled their Friday appointment to turn in petitions, owing to having failed to collect the minimum number of signatures required to make Washington’s November 2016 ballot. The demise of I-1515 is a watershed victory for LGBT civil rights, and leaves in place a Human Rights Commission rule that expressly protects the right of transgender individuals to access washrooms and bathrooms designated for the gender they identify as.

The law that serves as the basis for the Human Rights Commission rule I-1515 tried to repeal was itself briefly threatened ten years ago by a failed referendum instigated by Tim Eyman that NPI’s Permanent Defense fiercely opposed. Eyman teamed up with fundamentalist pastors and the religious right for the campaign. But, as with I-1515, they never turned in any signatures, and so Referendum 65 did not qualify for the November 2006 ballot.

Eyman is also not on the ballot again this year, due to having failed to persuade his wealthy benefactors to pour money into the various schemes he had claimed to be working on for 2016. This November will thus be the fourth Eyman-free general election since the 1990s, after 2003, 2006, and 2014.

More significantly, the collapse of I-1515 and the unexpected idling of Eyman’s initiative factory means that, for the first time this century, there will be zero right wing initiatives on Washington’s November ballot.

For NPI’s Permanent Defense, it is a historic and unprecedented moment.

“2016 marks the first time in the history of Permanent Defense that we have not had a right wing-backed ballot measure to fight on the general election ballot,” said NPI/Permanent Defense founder Andrew Villeneuve.

“This is a truly encouraging and welcome development. As a state, our focus needs to be on improving lives, expanding freedom, and bettering communities. Progress gets impeded when we have to beat back attacks on our Constitution, our commonwealth, and our values. Fortunately, Washington progressives have come together to make the most of this presidential election cycle. Voters will see a robust mix of worthy ideas, including a proposal to raise the minimum wage and create extreme risk protection orders — but no right wing measures that would take our state backwards. That’s as it should be.”

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