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Opponents of Calif. transgender rights law revive ballot fight

Tuesday, March 25, 2014
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SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Opponents of a new California law that provides transgender students certain rights in public schools are challenging the secretary of state’s finding that they failed to gather enough voter signatures for a referendum to repeal the law.

CaliforniaThe Pacific Justice Institute, a Christian legal group, announced Tuesday that it has filed papers in Sacramento Superior Court seeking a court order that would compel Secretary of State Debra Bowen to qualify the measure for the November ballot.

Attorney Matthew McReynolds says the group is arguing that county election officers improperly invalidated more than 17,276 signatures from the petitions the referendum’s supporters circulated.

McReynolds says his own signature was thrown out because it did not match the one on his original voter registration card, a discrepancy he attributed to the fact that he is now blind.

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 on February 24.

The law took effect Jan. 1, and 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 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.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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