Friday, February 10, 2017
Contact: Heather Weiner
WA Voters Urged to Say NO to Discrimination
Decline to Sign I-1552 says Coalition of Businesses, Safety & Faith Groups
Washington State – Washington Won’t Discriminate, a coalition of more than 500 businesses, labor unions, faith organizations and safety groups, is urging voters to say no to discrimination by signing a pledge to decline to sign I-1552. Regardless of the outcome of today’s court hearing on I-1552’s ballot title language, signature gathering for I-1552 is expected to begin next week. The online decline to sign pledge form is at NoOn1552.org/Pledge
NOTE TO EDITORS: Images for press use available here. Credit: Washington Won’t Discriminate
“I’ve devoted my career to preventing sexual violence in our community and there is nothing more important to me than ensuring our community is safe. I expect voters to decline to sign any initiative which would do nothing to make us safer and instead would cause serious unintended consequences for the privacy and safety of all of us by encouraging more discrimination and harassment,” said Andrea Piper-Wentland, Director of the Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs.
The Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs and Youth Care are in court today, seeking clarifications and changes to the ballot title language of I-1552, a new ballot initiative to repeal Washington State’s 10-year old non-discrimination law protecting our transgender friends, co-workers and family members.
Regardless of the outcome of today’s hearing, the initiative’s sponsors say signature gathering could start as early as next week to collect the nearly 260,000 voter signatures needed to get I-1552 on the November 2017 ballot. The Washington State Human Rights Commission and law enforcement officials have repeatedly debunked I-1552 supporters’ claims that state laws allow men to harass women in gender-segregated facilities.
Last year, backers of I-1515 failed to turn in enough signatures to qualify for last year’s fall election ballot after facing a solid wall of opposition from big names like Amazon and Microsoft, faith leaders, law enforcement and victims’ safety groups. Now they are back again with another effort to roll back non-discrimination protections for transgender people.
“Washingtonians sent a clear message last year – we won’t discriminate,” said Seth Kirby, a transgender man and Chair of Washington Won’t Discriminate. “Voters didn’t buy the pitch that repealing our state’s non-discrimination protections for transgender people would somehow make us safer. Washingtonians value fairness and equality and we believe that everyone in our state should be able to earn a living, frequent a business, earn an education, and raise a family free from the fear of discrimination.”
Washington Won’t Discriminate is a broad coalition of more than 500 law enforcement, clergy, business leaders, violence prevent groups and others opposing efforts to roll back our state’s non-discrimination protections.
Similar bills and initiatives are popping up in other states including Alabama, Alaska, Kentucky, Missouri, South Carolina, Texas, and Virginia. North Carolina’s HB2 cost the state’s economy more than $600 million in 2016, according to Forbes.