In a victory for LGBT civil rights, a discriminatory bill that tried to roll back protections for transgender individuals has died on the floor of the Washington State Senate today after being defeated by the narrowest of margins.
The militants who control the Senate Republican caucus, including Tim Eyman’s pals Doug Ericksen, Michael Baumgartner, Pam Roach, and Don Benton, tried to push through a bill (SB 6443) that would have repealed Washington State Human Rights Commission rules (codified as WAC 162–32-060) that allow transgender people to use washrooms and bathrooms consistent with the gender they identify with.
Ericksen and Baumgartner were successful in getting the bill through committee and onto the floor, but today, they were defeated when the bill came up for a vote.
Three Republicans broke away from their caucus to vote against the bill: Andy Hill, Steve Litzow, and Joe Fain, while one Democrat crossed over to vote for the bill (Jim Hargrove). That left the Republicans one vote shy of twenty-five, which is the threshold for passage of legislation in the Senate. SB 6443 is dead, and hopefully this is the last time a bill like this will even make it onto the Senate floor.
The roll call vote was as follows::
Gender seg. facility rules
Senate vote on 3rd Reading & Final Passage
Voting Yea: Senators Angel, Bailey, Baumgartner, Becker, Benton, Braun, Brown, Dammeier, Dansel, Ericksen, Hargrove, Hewitt, Honeyford, King, Miloscia, O’Ban, Padden, Parlette, Pearson, Rivers, Roach, Schoesler, Sheldon, Warnick
Voting Nay: Senators Billig, Carlyle, Chase, Cleveland, Conway, Darneille, Fain, Fraser, Frockt, Habib, Hasegawa, Hill, Hobbs, Jayapal, Keiser, Liias, Litzow, McAuliffe, McCoy, Mullet, Nelson, Pedersen, Ranker, Rolfes, Takko
NPI thanks the Senate Democratic caucus (minus Jim Hargrove — shame on you, Senator) and Republicans Andy Hill, Steve Litzow, and Joe Fain for their no votes. This bill would not have even received a vote in a Democratic-controlled Senate, but at least three Republicans stepped forward to prevent the Senate from passing this disgraceful, mean-spirited, and unnecessary discriminatory legislation.
“The people of our state value generosity over fear, abundance over scarcity. We value the whole person, no matter who they are,” said Senator Pramila Jayapal following the vote. “That was proven today when Senate Republican leadership brought a bill to the floor that would have rolled back the civil rights and basic safety protections for transgender Washingtonians, but it failed to pass.”
“I am a parent, and I know what it is to fear for the safety of my child. But the history of civil rights has always been tied to fear. The truth is, there is no reason to fear transgender individuals — they are our daughters, sons, sisters, brothers and neighbors. Most important, we should never give in to stereotypes or misconceptions that play on our fears and blind us to our own humanity.”
“In fact, if there is anyone who has something to fear it is transgender individuals themselves. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, transgender individuals experience ‘shockingly high levels of sexual abuse and assault’ – as high as 66 percent. That number increases for certain subgroups including transgender youth and people of color. That means a significant majority of this population is experiencing sexual, physical and other forms of violence.”
“I hope in the future we bring that issue up in the Senate, rather than voting on ways to add to the danger transgender Washingtonians already face every day,” Jayapal added. “I understand this is new territory for many of us, but the reality is these protections have been in practice for a decade without incident.
“The Senate took up the issue today of who we are as a state – are we a Washington that acts on fear, or values equality? Equality won out. That is Washington.”