OLYMPIA, Wash. — For a second time, an initiative effort largely motivated by Christians concerned about the safety of women and children in the Evergreen State has fallen short.
The grassroots effort called Just Want Privacy failed to collect the number of petition signatures from Washington voters required to place Initiative 1152 on this November’s statewide ballot. The goal was to collect 330,000 signatures; a minimum 259,000 valid signatures were needed. But only about 240,000 were gathered by the July 7 deadline — about 20,000 more than had been secured in a similar initiative drive last year.
Had it made it on the ballot, the initiative would have proposed voters repeal section 162-32-060 of the Washington Administrative Code. Adopted in 2015 by the state Human Rights Commission, this statute allows people to use restrooms or locker rooms that are in line with their gender identity, rather than their birth gender.
As reported by the Seattle Times, Just Want Privacy leaders contended the state rule could be used as a shield for sexual predators to enter such facilities and possibly harm women and children. The state said the rule did not introduce a new right but clarified a 2006 law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
In a statement released July 7, Just Want Privacy leaders expressed belief that many more people in Washington would have signed the initiative petitions had they been given the opportunity, but there wasn’t sufficient time to reach them.
Just Want Privacy focused much of its petitioning effort through those churches that were willing to back the effort, but expressed disappointment that most churches chose not to allow signature gathering.
A group called Washington Won’t Discriminate, which opposed the initiative, was pleased by its failure to make the ballot.
Seth Kirby, the group’s chair, said repealing protections from discrimination for transgender people won’t make anyone safer.