OFFICIAL BALLOT TITLE: Initiative Measure No. 1552 concerns gender-segregated facilities and civil liability. This measure would override state/local protections against gender-identity discrimination in certain public-accommodation facilities, require that public schools restrict access to some facilities based on sex at birth, and allow related lawsuits against schools. (Full language of the initiative)
Invitation to Harass:
I-1552 authorizes strangers to demand to check a person’s “sex at birth” before allowing access to certain restrooms and locker rooms.
- The law is impossible to enforce without inviting confusion, abuse and harassment. To prove one’s “sex at birth,” I-1552 potentially requires people to carry their original birth certificates, comply with genital checks, or submit to genetic DNA tests each time they want to use public accommodations. I-1552 Sec. 6
- By targeting transgender students who already face high rates of harassment, I-1552 will lead to more bullying of transgender students and other students who don’t fit gender “norms.”
Does Not Improve Safety:
More than a dozen existing laws already prohibit predatory behavior, including indecent exposure and voyeurism, in gender-segregated spaces likes restrooms and locker rooms (RCW 9a.44).
- In Washington, and in the more than 200 cities and 19 states with these same non-discrimination protections, transgender people have been protected from unfair discrimination with no increase in public safety incidents as a result. (Source: National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence Against Women)
- I-1552 is opposed by law enforcement and safety groups including Former Snohomish County Sheriff John Lovick, Coalition Ending Gender-Based Violence, Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs (WCSAP), Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence (WSCADV), and others.
Expensive for Taxpayers, Schools & Businesses:
I-1552 encourages expensive lawsuits against Washington’s public schools, and could drive away billions of dollars in economic development for our state, costing taxpayers.
- Gives hundreds of thousands of K-12 students the ability to sue their public schools for a minimum of $5,000 for every time they encounter a transgender student in a gender-segregated facility. As named defendants, Washington’s public schools will be forced to drain limited budgets to pay for lawyers and payouts to plaintiffs, putting more pressure on Washington’s taxpayers. I-1552, Section 2 5(e)(i)
- Economic experts say Washington State could also lose billions if it passes laws like I-1552. Williams Institute study. North Carolina’s economy has lost an estimated $600 million since a similar law, HB2, went into place last year and experts warn that state will lose more than $3.7 Billion over the next 12 years as businesses, tourists and conventions go elsewhere. Associated Press
- Local and Washington businesses including Alaska Airlines, Amazon, Adobe, Airbnb, Microsoft, Vulcan and Google all oppose 1552 and endorse Washington Businesses Won’t Discriminate. Seattle Times
Unethical and Discriminatory:
By repealing parts of Washington’s long standing law protecting LGBT people, I-1552 singles out one group of people for more harassment and discrimination.
- I-1552 opens the door to employment discrimination by allowing places of public accommodation – including hotels, restaurants, government agencies, and businesses — to prohibit transgender people from using gender-segregated facilities that are consistent with how they live their lives. By restricting employee locker rooms and restrooms, managers could use this provision to discourage transgender job applicants and force out transgender employees. I-1552 Sec. 5 4(b)
- I-1552 requires our public schools to discriminate against transgender students by denying them access to gender-segregated facilities that are consistent with their gender identity. I-1552 does not require schools to provide separate but equal accommodations; I-1552 provides for access to alternative accommodations only if they are “already available.” I-1552 Sec. 2 2(a)
Unnecessary Government Intrusion:
Republican-Led Legislatures And Governors Reject “Bathroom Bills” Like I-1552 Because They Are Controversial, Distracting, And Unnecessary Government Intrusion.
- I-1552 would override county and city rights, preventing local governments from passing or enforcing non-discrimination ordinances protecting transgender people from discrimination in gender-segregated facilities. I-1552 Sec. 5 4(b)
- “We don’t need that in Arkansas,” said that state’s GOP governor, Asa Hutchinson, earlier this month. “If there’s a North Carolina-type bill, then I want the Legislature not to pass it.”… Kentucky’s GOP Gov. Matt Bevin, though a staunch social conservative, has dismissed the proposal as unnecessary government intrusion…. The centrist conservative Republicans in the [Texas] House, led by Speaker Joe Straus, view SB 6 as an unwanted distraction.” Associated Press
- “Legislation to create more uncertainty and reduce the rights of any minority does more to divide us than to bring equality” [said Former WA Republican State Senator Steve Litzow]. Seattle Met
Who opposes I-1552?
I-1552 is opposed by more than 500 faith organizations, ministers, nurses, law enforcement officials, public safety groups, businesses, labor unions, chambers of commerce, school board members and other elected officials including:
- Alaska Airlines
- The Dow Chemical Company
- Former Snohomish County Sheriff John Lovick
- League of Women Voters of WA, Trinity Episcopal Church – Everett
- Washington State Nurses Association
- Northshore School Board Director David Cogan
- Federal Way School District Board President Geoffery McAnalloy
- Tacoma School Board District Board President Catherine Ushka
- WA Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs
- National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum
- American Federation of Teachers of Washington
- YWCA Pierce County
- And more…
Washington Won’t Discriminate’s funders include Amazon, Microsoft, the Pride Foundation, Freedom For All Americans, ACLU of Washington and more than 1,800 other individual and organizational donors. They are all listed, as required by law, on the WA Public Disclosure Commission’s website.
Proposals like I-1552 are also opposed by:
- Seattle Times: Editorial: Transgender law would be an utter embarrassment for Washington
- Seattle Times: Editorial: Don’t roll back transgender protections
- Tacoma News Tribune: Editorial: Restroom war distracts from fight against real sex crime
- Olympian: Editorial: Decline to sign bathroom initiative
- The Columbian: In Our View: All Of Us Must Coexist
- Everett Herald: Editorial: Unfounded fears of transgender people can’t justify discrimination
- Everett Herald: Editorial: ‘Bathroom’ initiative plays on unwarranted fears
- Spokesman Review: Editorial: Leaders right to face down discrimination
- Kitsap Daily News: Editorial: All persons deserve protection from discrimination