Late Thursday afternoon, I-1515 sponsor Joseph Backholm quietly canceled his July 8 appointment with the Washington Secretary of State. According to SoS communications director David Ammons, Backholm “indicated the campaign did not gather enough signatures to meet the threshold” for a ballot initiative.
After months of anti-trans bigotry and vitriol and fear-mongering, this fight is finally over. Washington won’t, in fact, discriminate. A 2006 civil rights law remains steadfast, and transgender people have every right to access the facilities that correspond with their gender.
As Seattle Weekly editorialized earlier this week, our expectation was that the campaign would fail to reach the required number of signatures (the self-reported numbers were way behind, for starters). The fact that that is a reality now shows just how united we stand as a society — and as voters — against the hatred that I-1515 espoused.
As SW wrote on Wednesday:
Assuming Just Want Privacy is being truthful in its figures—which, granted, is assuming a lot from this group—there is little chance that I-1515 will fulfill the requirement for putting its measure to a vote of the people. If that happens, we can already predict the excuses: They started gathering signatures late in the process; their efforts were smeared by the liberal press; people don’t understand what they are trying to do.
In truth, if on Friday Just Want Privacy cannot submit enough signatures to put I-1515 on the ballot, it will provide yet more proof that the fear and loathing of transgender people that Backholm and his ilk espouse does not represent us as a people. It will be the strongest evidence yet that Washingtonians just aren’t interested in reversing efforts to make our society more welcoming to everyone. For all intents and purposes, the debate will be over, and no one should complain that they didn’t have a chance to have their say.
So, in other words, Backholm, you’ve had your say. The people have spoken.
THANK YOU to every single Washingtonian who has stood up, told your story & taken a stand against I1515. Today is your victory! #NoOnI1515
— No On I-1515 (@NoDiscrimWA) July 8, 2016
“Washingtonians have sent a clear message – we won’t discriminate,” said Seth Kirby, Chair of Washington Won’t Discriminate, the No on I-1515 campaign, in a statement. “As a transgender man, I’m encouraged that voters didn’t buy the pitch that repealing our state’s non-discrimination protections for transgender people would somehow make everyone 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.”
And although this is a big victory — and the very goal that the coalition was formed to attain — the statement concludes, “Washington Won’t Discriminate will continue to mobilize public support for protecting our state’s non-discrimination laws from future attacks.”