Initiative 1515, a campaign to restrict bathroom and locker-room access for transgender people, canceled an appointment to turn in signatures on Friday.
The proposed initiative to restrict bathroom and locker-room access for transgender people won’t be on Washington state’s November election ballot.
The campaign in support of Initiative 1515 indicated Thursday it couldn’t gather the 246,000 signatures needed, according to David Ammons, spokesman for the Washington Secretary of State’s Office.
The I-1515 campaign, Just Want Privacy, had struggled to raise funds and faced an array of opposition, including from major corporations such as Airbnb, Amazon, Microsoft and Google.
The campaign came about after a state regulation by the Human Rights Commission took effect in December, guaranteeing access to locker rooms, restrooms and similar facilities according to an individual’s gender identity. It affects public and private buildings, including schools, restaurants, stores and most places of employment. The commission has said the rule just clarifies a 2006 state law.
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But it ignited a backlash among some conservatives and others who said they worry such access would allow sexual predators to more easily enter private spaces and potentially harm women and children.
A push by some in the GOP to roll back the commission’s law failed in a February vote of the state Senate, spurring the idea for the initiative campaign.
I-1515 would have amended state anti-discrimination law so that access to “private facilities” could be limited to those who are “biologically” male or female regardless of how they identify, according to a summary of the ballot measure.
It also called for limiting state and local regulations regarding gender-identity discrimination and permitting lawsuits against schools that allow access to facilities based on gender identity.
Seth Kirby, a transgender man and chairman of Washington Won’t Discriminate, a campaign opposing the initiative, hailed the news.
“Washingtonians have sent a clear message — we won’t discriminate,” Kirby said in a statement.
“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,” he added later.
The failure to get enough signatures is not a complete surprise. Joseph Backholm, who heads the Family Policy Institute of Washington and has been one of I-1515’s leaders, acknowledged in mid-June that fundraising was slow.