Effort to repeal Calif. transgender student rights law may not qualify for ballot


SAN FRANCISCO — Opponents of a new California transgender students rights law, who claimed earlier this month they had collected enough signatures to force a ballot initiative aimed at repealing the law, may not qualify to put the issue before voters after all.

safe-schoolsA coalition of conservative groups called Privacy for all Students submitted 613,120 signatures to get the initiative on the November 2014 ballot — 108,360 more than required by law.

But as of Friday, early results of a random sampling of petition signatures finds that only 76.7% of signatures submitted are valid, indicating that if the trend holds, the referendum initiative would fail.

Local elections boards have until January 8 to verify petitions in a random sample of 3 percent or 500 signatures, whichever is greater. The sample is compared and authenticated against the rolls of registered voters in each jurisdiction.

California state law provides that in the authentication process, if the statewide random sample total projects more than 110 percent of the required amount of signatures, the referendum would qualify for the ballot.

If the statewide total is less than 95 percent of the required amount of signatures, the referendum would fail to qualify for the ballot.

Once on the ballot, the law is repealed if voters cast more no votes than yes votes on the referendum in question.

The effort to repeal the law is being aided by the National Organization for Marriage, which organized the 2008 ballot initiative that outlawed gay marriage in California.

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NOM operative Frank Schubert, the political strategist handling the signature gathering effort, previously led successful campaigns to block same-sex marriage in Maine and North Carolina.

California is the first state to pass the law, detailing the rights of transgender K-12 students.

One of the provisions gives transgender students the choice of playing on either boys or girls sports teams. It also allows them to choose which restroom that want to use.

Gov. Jerry Brown signed the law, AB1266, in September. It goes into effect Jan. 1.

The goal of the law is to reduce discrimination against transgender students.

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