Senate rejects reversal of transgender bathroom rule

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — The full Senate has rejected a bill that would eliminate Washington's new rule allowing transgender people to use bathrooms and locker rooms in public buildings consistent with their gender identity.

Senate Bill 6443 failed by one vote, with 25 senators voting Wednesday to reject the measure. In addition to repealing the new rule, the bill, sponsored by Republican Sen. Doug Ericksen of Ferndale, sought to prohibit the Human Rights Commission from initiating any rule-making procedures related to gender segregated facilities.

Sharon Ortiz, Human Rights Commission director, has said that the new rule was only a clarification of the state's existing anti-discrimination law. Transgender rights are already protected under an addition to the 2006 Washington Law Against Discrimination. The commission was created by the Legislature and is responsible for administering and enforcing that law.