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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, June 30, 2017 - Volume 45 Issue 26
Washington Won't Discriminate: State should reject I-1552 petitions

Text violates state constitution and laws
Section One
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Washington Won't Discriminate: State should reject I-1552 petitions

Text violates state constitution and laws

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Washington Won't Discriminate - the group fighting anti-Transgender Initiative 1552 - has asked Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman to reject I-1552 petitions for multiple violations of the state's constitution and laws.

In its letter, delivered June 23, the group lists three kinds of violations committed by I-1552 promoters:

o Misrepresenting the court-established ballot title for the initiative;

o Incorrectly presenting the court-approved summary of the ballot measure; and

o Failing to print the full text of the measure on the reverse side of the petitions.

Washington Won't Discriminate was joined in its complaint by Legal Voice and the ACLU of Washington.

As Secretary of State, Kim Wyman is the official charged with enforcing state election laws and ensuring that petitioners adhere to all the legal requirements for placing measures on the statewide ballot.

The letter calls on Wyman to make a speedy decision on whether she will allow improper petitions to be presented.

'Such guidance would also be helpful in determining whether there may be the need for litigation over the inexplicable failure of I-1552's proponents to comply with the basic, simple requirements of Washington law by creating petitions that violate the law in multiple respects,' the letter says.

'The proponents of I-1552 did not follow the law in creating the petitions for I-1552. Petitions that include these flaws should be rejected by the Secretary of State,' explains David Ward, legal and legislative counsel for Legal Voice.

'It's not surprising that an anti-LGBT campaign with a record of deceptive and unethical practices would be circulating flawed petitions for signature,' says Seth Kirby, a Transgender man and chair of Washington Won't Discriminate.

On June 20, Washington Won't Discriminate filed a separate complaint with the state Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) charging that Just Want Privacy - the group behind I-1552 - violated Washington state disclosure laws by failing to report numerous contributions from anti-LGBTQ groups.

Among the complaints to the PDC were charges that the anti-Trans initiative backers used so-called 'Gender Revolution' events sponsored by the Family Policy Institute of Washington in several Washington cities to recruit volunteers and gather signatures on their petitions. The institute is run by Joseph Backholm, who also heads the Just Want Privacy group.

The anti-Trans campaign also failed to report resources it obtained from the anti-LGBTQ group Alliance Defending Freedom and from right-wing former state Rep. Graham Hunt.

'I-1552's unreported backers are focused on furthering an anti-LGBTQ and discrimination agenda that will undermine public safety by encouraging more harassment and violence,' said Monisha Harrell, chair of the board of Equal Rights Washington.

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