California's secretary of state announced late Monday that a measure designed to roll back California's laws protecting the rights of transgender students lacked a sufficient number of signatures to qualify for the November ballot. But the case might not be over yet, as the trans rights opponents say they're not willing to take this one lying down.
AB 1266, which was sponsored by San Francisco's own Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, requires school district to allow students to participate in programs and use facilities based on their gender identity. It took effect on January 1.
Even before the law kicked in, folks like Prop 8 campaign manager Frank Schubert took up torches and pitchforks, creating the Privacy For All Students coalition to fight these new rights for trans kids.
According to their website, PFAS seeks to "give voters the right to decide whether to accept legislation that gives students the ability to utilize intimate school facilities such as showers, rest rooms and locker rooms based on their so-called gender identity and not their actual sex."
In a post on Red State, Schubert is more overt, saying that laws like AB 1266 are "an example of what happens when politicians and activists push agenda politics, and where political correctness trumps objective reality. No matter what any politician or activist says, there are only two genders: male and female. Nature and chromosomes determine gender, not education bureaucrats, activists or politicians."
If PFAS had come up with 504,760 valid anti-trans-kid signatures, AB 1266 would have been put on hold until the November election, at which time voters could have voted to repeal it. (As they did with Prop 8, as you might recall.) In the meantime, voters would surely have been hit with a campaign that "promised to be as bitterly fought as the one over Proposition 8," reports the Associated Press.
We might have been saved that campaign, though. Though PFAS turned in over 619,000 signatures, only 487,484 were found to be valid by election officials, leaving them around 17,000 short of the ballot.
The folks opposing the trans student protections have not yet begun to fight, however. “We are ready to review and challenge every signature that was not counted toward the referendum of this impudent and in-your-face bill," Brad Dacus, president of Pacific Justice Institute, told the LA Times.
His PJI colleague, Kevin Snider, told the AP that "The secretary of state has had the inclination to disenfranchise voters, and we won't sit still and take their word for it."
In a statement, Ammiano took Snider, Dacus, and the rest of the PFAS lot to task as "people that make money off promoting hate and professional fear mongers, who took advantage of what other people didn’t understand."
“The good thing that comes out of this misguided referendum effort is that we were able to continue to educate people. It’s important that we begin to understand what transgender students are going through," Ammiano said.
Previously on SFist:
Prop. 8 Creep Now Targeting Trans Teens