Kitsap, Washington — Kitsap Sheriff Michael R. Kipke, who has defended the controversial law in court, has told The Seattle Times he won´t defend the law against a federal judge who said it was unconstitutional.
In a letter to U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb on Friday, Kipkes attorney wrote that the state’s anti-harassment law was enacted “to prevent discrimination in the workplace, and therefore protects the right of every individual to express himself or herself, regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, or any other characteristic protected by the Constitution and laws of the United States.”
Kipkes letter comes after Crabb said the state failed to prove the law’s constitutionality, and the state has argued it would only allow certain classes of people to be protected against harassment.
“While the state of Washington has a legitimate interest in preventing and responding to harassment, the protection afforded by the law is limited,” the letter reads.
The state of Montana, which is also fighting the law in the U.N., also challenged it in court.
Kipske did not respond to a request for comment.
The Kitsap sheriff said the law was needed to protect students and staff who may be subjected to hostile and abusive behavior by classmates, and was not intended to target people who are perceived to be mentally ill.
He said in a letter that he was not personally motivated by any personal bias, and said the purpose of the law as enacted was to prevent discrimination and harassment in the classroom.
“The state does not intend to discriminate against students or employees, but rather to provide an environment that encourages and encourages the development of strong, independent individuals who are not afraid to speak out and be heard in the marketplace of ideas,” Kipkins letter reads, adding that the law has helped protect people with mental health issues.
A law that protects against harassment is not an outright ban on speech, Kipskes letter reads.
“The law protects students and employees who may have been subjected to harassing or abusive behavior and the protection of students and their families is a legitimate state interest.