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Bid to repeal Calif. transgender student rights fails to qualify for November ballot

Monday, February 24, 2014
Lenny Ignelzi, APDaniella McDonald, an activist and supporter of the School Success and Opportunity Act (AB1266), tells attendees at a rally organized by San Diego LGBTQ rights organizations Canvass for a Cause, SAME Alliance, and Black and Pink that the petition drive to place a proposition on the ballot to repeal the law failed to garner enough signatures Monday, Feb. 24, 2014, in San Diego.

Lenny Ignelzi, AP
Daniella McDonald, an activist and supporter of the School Success and Opportunity Act (AB1266), tells attendees at a rally in San Diego on Monday, organized by San Diego LGBTQ rights organizations Canvass for a Cause, SAME Alliance, and Black and Pink, that the petition drive to place a proposition on the ballot to repeal the law failed to garner enough signatures.

Updated: 11:00 p.m. PST

SAN FRANCISCO — Opponents of a new California law that provides transgender students certain rights in public schools have failed to gather enough voter signatures to place a referendum to repeal the law on the November ballot.

At least 504,760 signatures were required to force a public vote on the statute approved by the California Legislature and signed by Gov. Jerry Brown last year. The law’s opponents submitted 619,387, but county election officers determined that just 487,484 of them were valid, according to a final count posted on the secretary of state’s website Monday.

The law took effect Jan. 1. It guarantees students in grades K-12 the right to use the school restrooms and to participate in the sex-segregated activities that correspond with their expressed genders instead of their school records.

The coalition of religious conservative groups behind the repeal effort said it violates the privacy of youngsters who may be uncomfortable sharing facilities with classmates of the opposite biological sex. The law’s supporters said it is needed to provide statewide consistency and to improve the school experiences of young people who decide to live by a gender different from the one they had at birth.

If the referendum had made the ballot, the law would have been put on hold until after the election as its supporters and opponents mounted a campaign that promised to be as bitterly fought as the one over Proposition 8, the 2008 constitutional amendment that banned same-sex marriage in California until last year.

Karen England of the Privacy for All Students coalition said the proposed referendum’s backers are not conceding defeat yet. They plan to review the disqualified signatures and, depending what they find, go to court to try to get enough of them added to the final tally so the measure would have to go before voters.

“We are preparing for the next stage of the battle,” England said in a statement. “After months of waiting, we now get to see why so many signatures were thrown out. Certainly some signers were not registered to vote or had moved without changing their address. But it is also certain that many of those signatures were rejected based on reasons that will not survive a legal challenge.”

California is the first state to detail the rights of transgender students in schools by statute. Some school districts around California, as well as the education departments in Massachusetts and Connecticut, have implemented similar policies by regulation.

Although the law’s opponents have focused on potential abuses and awkward encounters in bathrooms and locker rooms, school districts have taken it as a mandate to evaluate yearbook photo dress codes, sleeping arrangements for overnight field trips, and activities such as choirs and recreational sports where girls and boys are often separated. Some have also given students who object to using restrooms or locker rooms with transgender classmates the option of using staff restrooms.

“This law gives schools the guidelines and flexibility to create an environment where all kids have the opportunity to learn. We need to focus on creating an environment where every student is able to do well and graduate. This law is about doing what’s best for all students,” said Masen Davis, executive director of the Transgender Law Center in Oakland.

The California Interscholastic Federation, which governs competitive high school sports, adopted a detailed process in 2012 that students must follow if they want to play on a team that is not consistent with their gender at birth.

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27 more reader comments:

  1. Awesome!

    Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 1:10am
  2. This Canadian is happy about this!

    Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 1:13am
  3. Great news!

    Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 1:14am
  4. i mean it could still be in another ballot in the future, and even if it was in the ballot, their rights probs wouldn't get repealed

    Replied on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 1:20am
  5. Daniel Landeros

    Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 1:14am
  6. Good! I hope more states (including Ohio) get more transgender rights.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 1:15am
  7. California finally gets it. I think that Prop 8 bullshit is finally behind us.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 1:16am
  8. Good!

    Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 1:16am
  9. While this is great news, there are still other battles going on. We cannot let Arizona get away with trying to legalize discrimination. There MUST be consequences for their actions. They do not deserve to host the 2015 Super Bowl. Taking it away will send a clear message to other states like Kansas and Georgia that are trying to enact other draconian measures.

    http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/move-the-super-bowl-out

    Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 1:17am
  10. I’m so happy to hear good news it has been so grim. From Arizona to Uganda to Russia.. thank all that is good for this win of equality for all students :)

    Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 1:18am
  11. And the bigots that pushed prop 8 just keep on trying. If you don’t like that California is an equality state, move to Arizona, Idaho, Utah or Texas.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 1:26am
  12. Thank gods.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 1:27am
  13. Good, we all deserve equal rights.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 1:27am
  14. Oh the fundies are not going to be happy about this….I suppose they will have to boycott something….and 200 of them. LOL

    Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 1:32am
  15. i live in kentucky proud to be a transgender lady. we are human beings and we deserve rights just like the next person. and if i want to share my life with a man. that should be my right. one of these days will share life but. this is good to hear love it more states need to follow

    Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 1:34am
  16. Dear Governor Brewer, please accept this humble invitation to attend our LGBT Event known as “Fist Fest West” in Palm Springs California. Please BYO Can of Crisco shortening and make sure your nails are clipped. As you will be inserting your arm to the elbow into several naked LGBT members rectums. As this is how we Gay’s pay our respect to the Law’s of Creation and seal our wedding vows.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 1:34am
  17. good more states should get more transgender rights cause transgender men and women are no different than anyone else we may look different but we all the same in the lords eyes

    Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 1:37am
  18. GOOD! I wish these bigots would stop spreading lies about trans folks; and then hide behind the Bible.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 1:39am
  19. Awesome, also! Is the banner a trans banner? I never noticed. Please let me know!

    Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 1:42am
  20. good

    Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 1:44am
  21. <3

    Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 1:45am
  22. yay!!!

    Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 1:46am
  23. YAY!!!!!!!

    Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 1:49am
  24. Hoorah!

    Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 2:04am
  25. good

    Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 2:27am
  26. People Craig Hill Phd…is a troll and and fraud…he’s not gay!!! He is a gay hater report him

    Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 2:34am
  27. FUCK YOU, EVANGELICALS!

    Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 2:38am