Jottings By An Employer's Lawyer

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Sexual Orienation Soon to Be a Protected Category in Washington State

Maybe. A legislative effort begun in 1977 made it as far as the Governor's desk for signature yesterday as Washington state amends its discrimination statute to include sexual orientation as a protected category. Washington's new law defines sexual orientation as:
heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality, and gender expression or identity. As used in this definition, gender expression or identity" means having or being perceived as having a gender identity, self-image, appearance, behavior, or expression, whether or not that gender identity, self-image, appearance, behavior, or expression is different from that traditionally associated with the sex assigned to that person at birth.
Although signed into law yesterday, the bill which according to the Washington Post story makes Washington the 17th state to protect gays and lesbians and the 7th to protect transgendered individuals from discrimination, will not be effective until 90 days after the legislative session ends which would be sometime in June.

But an effort to repeal it through a voter initiative is in the process of being filed by Tim Eyman, described in an Olympian online story about the effort, as a long time initiative promoter. If enough signatures to put the measure repealing the newly enacted amendment are obtained, the law would not go into effect unless it survived a November referendum.

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