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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, May 6, 2016 - Volume 44 Issue 19
Washington Won't Discriminate asks supporters to go public
Section One
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Washington Won't Discriminate asks supporters to go public

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor

It's been exactly one week since the launch of Washington Won't Discriminate, the No On I-1515 campaign to stop discrimination from coming to Washington, and the campaign reports that the effort already 'has tens of thousands of supporters.'

In a message to Washington Won't Discriminate supporters this week, campaign Chair Seth Kirby said, 'As I write this, signatures are being gathered for a petition that would put I-1515 on Washington's November ballot to repeal parts of our state's non-discrimination law that for 10 years has guaranteed fair and equal treatment for our Transgender family members, neighbors, and co-workers.'

In order for I-1515 to qualify for public vote, the bigots will have to get 246,372 qualified signatures before July 8. Earlier this week, backers of I-1515 announced they've already collected 50,000 of the 250,000 petition signatures needed and there are rumors that they've hired paid signature gatherers to help them hit the qualifying goal before the July deadline.

Washingtonians who oppose the discriminatory initiative are encouraged to sign a pledge to show support for the No On I-1515 campaign at http://action.wawont.org/page/s/pledge.

In short, Kirby reiterated to supporters that I-1515 aims to legalize Transgender discrimination across the state.

'You and I know that discrimination isn't who we are in Washington,' said Kirby. 'So it's on us to make it perfectly clear that Washingtonians will not stand for unfair treatment of some of our most vulnerable community members. And we can't do that without your help.'

Kirby asked that people go public with their support for the No On I-1515 campaign by sharing several graphics on social media.

Following the announcement by the opposition that they have 50,000 signatures, the ACLU of Washington stepped up and pledged to match every dollar, up to $5,000, to fuel the Washington Won't Discriminate campaign to stop I-1515, which said, 'Meeting this one-time $5,000 challenge from the ACLU of Washington will ensure we have the resources to fight back.'

(The statement, however, begs the question of - if the goal is met - what exactly would the campaign do with $10,000 to fight back.)

Economic impact of I-1515
In addition, the campaign announced that a new study released by UCLA's Williams Institute on May 5, finds that I-1515 'would have a disastrous economic impact on the state, with a loss in federal funding totaling upwards of $4.5 billion dollars.'

'By rolling back protections on the basis of gender identity that have been in state law for 10 years, the study concludes that I-1515 would be a clear violation of at least seven federal laws: Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Executive Order 13672, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act, the Violence Against Women Act, the Affordable Care Act, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Housing Act of 1949,' reports Washington Won't Discriminate officials.

According to the Williams Institute and Washington Won't Discriminate these violations threaten a host of federal funding sources, including:

o $1 billion lost in K-12 school funding
o Up to $3.3 billion in student loan and college funding
o Up to $130 million lost in federally-funded contracts
o $65 million lost in federal funding for Workforce Training
o $2.5 million lost in federal grants under the Violence Against Women Act
o Federal funding lost for Washington's housing, health and human services programs.
o Costly litigation for public schools and local governments.

'These threats to funding are not just possibilities should this initiative be put on the ballot and passed this November - they would very much become a catastrophic reality,' says the No On I-1515 campaign, reminding us that 'Just yesterday, the Department of Justice issued an order finding that North Carolina's HB2 - a law specifically targeting Transgender people - was a violation of the Federal Civil Rights Act. The DOJ has now given the state of North Carolina until this coming Monday to halt implementation of the law. If not, the state would forfeit $861 million in federal education funding.'

'And as states like North Carolina can attest, the economic fallout doesn't end there,' said Washington Won't Discriminate officials. 'If proponents of I-1515 succeed in rolling back fair and equal treatment of Transgender people under Washington law, it would undoubtedly drive away billions in economic development from businesses, tourism and conventions. And I-1515 would also embroil our schools, local governments and businesses in costly and unnecessary litigation for years to come.'
According to Washington Won't Discriminate, 'The evidence is clear: I-1515 isn't just wrong - it would be downright damaging for our state's economy and for every person who calls Washington home.'

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