Repeal Vote Likely on Trans Law
Backers of a new California law meant to protect transgender students are preparing to fight for the legislation as anti-trans activists announced they’ve submitted more than 600,000 signatures to place a referendum on next year’s ballot.
The Privacy for All Students coalition had had until Sunday, November 10 to gather 504,760 valid signatures to put a referendum against Assembly Bill 1266 on the November 2014 ballot. AB 1266, which Governor Jerry Brown signed into law in August, aims to make sure that transgender youth can fully participate in all school activities, sports teams, programs, and facilities that match their gender identity.
In a news release Sunday, Privacy for All Students said it had submitted more than 620,000 signatures to election officials. It could take several weeks to determine whether the coalition submitted enough valid signatures.
In an email to the Bay Area Reporter , Frank Schubert, the anti-trans campaign’s manager, said the high signature count "does not guarantee we are going to be on the ballot. ... [I]t will all depend on how many of the signatures are verified as being valid and I expect it to come down to the wire."
The coalition indicated volunteers collected about 400,000 of the signatures, while paid signature gatherers collected "just over" 220,000.
In the news release, Schubert, the mastermind of California’s now-defunct Proposition 8 same-sex marriage ban, stated, "The validity rate of volunteer signatures is considerably higher than those for a paid signature drive. Historically, elections officials invalidate a significant percentage of signatures but many of our volunteer petitions have a validity rate of over 90 percent. We will be completing our internal validity checks over the next few days, but we believe the referendum has a good chance of qualifying."
Gay Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco), who authored AB 1266, said in a statement, "It’s a sadly familiar story that goes back to Proposition 8" and previous anti-LGBT efforts over the years.
"The people who oppose my bill for transgender rights mistakenly think that they can overturn a movement with their petitions," he added.
Ammiano said even if the referendum succeeds, "it would not change the fact that non-discrimination against transgender people is already the law in California and will already protect all students’ access to the appropriate facilities."
Courts have backed those rights, he said, and the Privacy for All Students effort is "nothing but bullying at the ballot box and only makes sense as a way for these groups to raise more money by throwing fear into their supporters and misleading people about what the law does."
The law is set to go into effect January 1, but according to Privacy for All Students, if the group collected enough valid signatures, the law will be suspended until voters approve or reject it.