Running out of time

From the tone of the e-mail I received today, it appears that the petition drive to bring the “bathroom bill” to referendum is struggling to receive support.

With one week left to gather signatures for the 1st turn-in, we need more petitions. If we receive just a few more in the mail this week, that will not be enough. We are asking for help from everyone reading this email. Your own signature is not enough for this petition drive to succeed.

Would you be willing to ask your friends, family, co-workers, and neighbors to sign the petition?

Over the next 5 days, we need thousands of signatures to meet the deadline. If you do not want for your daughters and granddaughters to have to be concerned about the risk of having a pedophile or sex-offender freely using the women’s restroom, I sincerely hope that you will act now. If we do not act now, the safety and privacy of our families will be at risk when this law goes into effect, October 1st.

Whether consciously or not, the backers of the bill may have found a route to success. People are so busy assisting other campaigns that they don’t seem to have a lot of time to help out with this petition. And to be quite honest, the experience of 2012 and losing on three different ballot measures is probably souring people on the whole referendum process. Why go through the whole petition process only to lose?

Moreover, it’s guaranteed that opponents are going to be painted with the “homophobic bigot” brush regardless of their legitimate concerns about privacy. Unfortunately, not every facility has a “family” restroom or locker room where the tiny percentage of Maryland residents who are dealing with these gender selection issues can be themselves. Most places only have men’s and women’s restrooms because that how all but a tiny portion are made.

Along a political line, there may also be a thought in the back of the mind of some Republican statewide candidates that anything with the potential to turn out Democratic voters should be avoided – again this goes back to the 2012 experience. Everything from the electorate to the ballot language for some of the provisions seemed to be stacked against conservatives in that election and there’s no reason to assume there won’t be headwinds this time out.

Yet regardless of the prospect for success in November, the message that failure to achieve the proper number of signatures would send is one that the General Assembly can bully the people of Maryland into whatever progressive wet dream they desire. If you prefer to keep the women’s restroom limited to women, make sure to sign the petition and get it back by Thursday – there has to be about 19,000 valid signatures collected by May 31 to advance to the full requirement of about 56,000 signatures by June 30. Once the primary is over, people can go pedal to the metal to finish the job in the last week but they have to make this May 31 deadline first.