Initiative That Would Overturn Transgender Bathroom Laws Withdrawn
In a late breaking story Friday afternoon, the Washington Secretary of State's office announced supporters of I-552 have withdrawn their efforts to get it on the November ballot. I-552, best known as the Just Want Privacy campaign, would have repealed or overturned the controversial transgender bathroom laws that set off a firestorm in our state.
According to information from the Secretary of State, I-552 failed to reach the minimum number of signatures, 259,622, so it will not be on the fall ballot.
The Washington State Human Rights Commission quietly, without public notice, hearings or other input, passed a sweeping series of laws allowing people to use whichever restroom they identify with, and this was done just after Christmas in 2015. This was related to the movement that led to the firestorm over other public facilities, including the Target stores issue.
Just Want Privacy faced an uphill battle, as a group calling itself Washington Won't Discriminate (WWD) poured a lot of money into a well organized campaign against I-552. According to a news release Friday, WWD claims it's made up of more than 500 businesses, labor organizations, law enforcement groups and even religious organizations. Other powerful transgender lobbies supported the effort to defeat what was largely a true citizen grass roots effort.
Despite being a very minute percentage of the general population, the LBGT lobby is very well connected politically and economically.
No word yet from Just Want Privacy if they plan to try again next year. According to observers, one of the biggest issues facing the group and I-552 was the ability to get the word out about the initiative. Much of that was tied to lack of funds that would have allowed them to likely gather more signatures by publicizing the effort. Organizers relied heavily on 'boots on the ground' and social media, but didn't have the financial backing many of the liberal special interest groups do to make the effort well known.