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Anti-LGBT group submits signatures for ballot measure to overturn transgender protections

Transgender Rights

California state sealA new conservative coalition in California called Privacy for All Students says it has submitted more than 600,000 signatures to put a popular initiative on the November 2014 ballot that would repeal a recently-passed state law providing protections to transgender students.  From the AP:

To qualify, at least 505,000 valid signatures must be submitted. To verify the signatures, each of California’s 58 counties will first check that the overall count is correct, then conduct a random sampling to make sure they are legitimate. After that, it is likely the state would order a full review.

If, after all of the reviews, the group has the requisite number of valid signatures, the initiative would qualify for the ballot.

“Many people said we had no chance to collect over half a million signatures in just 90 days, but we have proven them wrong by gathering over 115,000 more signatures than the minimum needed,” Gina Gleason of the group Faith and Public Policy, said in a statement.

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

Among the law’s protections: allowing transgender students to choose which gender sports teams they wish to participate on and which restrooms that want to use.  The law is scheduled to go into effect on January 1, but will be placed on hold pending the ballot initiative if the measure’s supporters submit enough valid signatures.

For those who have followed the Prop 8 campaign and then legal case, you might feel a bit of déjà vu in terms of the parade of horribles behind the new measure: there’s the National Organization for Marriage, of course, and also Frank Schubert, the mastermind conservative political strategist who not only successfully led the Prop 8 campaign but also spearheaded similar pushes in Maine and North Carolina.

A ruling on whether the initiative has qualified for the ballot is not expected for some time, as elections officials must now determine the number of valid signatures.

35 Comments

  • 1. Michelle Evans  |  November 12, 2013 at 1:11 pm

    This is just as wrong to put up for a vote as Prop 8 was. And repealing Prop 8 was a heck of a lot easier than this will be when the voters approve discrimination against trans people. I hope that we can count on the full support of the rest of the LGB community to support trans people as that support is often half-hearted when it comes to trans people, even from lesbians and gays.

    I once had a gay man tell me with a straight face that being trans could easily be cured through reparative (conversion) therapy. If I had said the same to him about being gay he would have gotten very angry.

    This ballot initiative is a very scary thing to contemplate as it could also lead to other legal discrimination against trans people, and we are already far behind lesbians and gays when it comes to equality.

  • 2. Bruno71  |  November 12, 2013 at 1:27 pm

    This isn't an amendment to the California constitution, at least. That should be easier to undermine it in a court of law.

  • 3. Ed  |  November 12, 2013 at 3:01 pm

    It is sad that, as gays and lesbians, we do not support our trans siblings fully. As a gay man, I become upset if someone talks about sexual preference rather than recognizing that gay is who I am, not just a "preference" that could be changed. We all need to band together to prevent further abuse of the trans community- starting by taking the time to hear our trans sisters and brothers and lend them our support.

  • 4. Sagesse  |  November 12, 2013 at 3:09 pm

    I haven't been paying as close attention to this as I should. Different states offer different levels of protection to trans people. Is this law groundbreaking, or do other states offer similar protections for students?

  • 5. Eric  |  November 12, 2013 at 4:01 pm

    This is the first time a state has specifically enumerated the protections. Most of the protections are already in place, under the way the courts have been interpreting Title VII, but too often litigation is required to remind school boards of their obligations under the law.

  • 6. Zack12  |  November 12, 2013 at 5:07 pm

    Been trying in NY. Many of the people who were to risk it for gay marriage aren't willing to do it for trans people.

  • 7. Straight Ally #3008  |  November 12, 2013 at 5:09 pm

    Like all bullies, the former Prop 8 proponents have picked a new target, one they perceive to be easier to push around.

  • 8. JayJonson  |  November 12, 2013 at 5:13 pm

    The irony is that the most potent fear that the bigots stoke is that of "inappropriate bathrooms," which is actually a fear caused by straight men stalking women by spying and harassing them in bathrooms.

  • 9. mnbob  |  November 12, 2013 at 5:49 pm

    Another blatant attempt to create moral panic using the "save the children" defense.

  • 10. Steve  |  November 12, 2013 at 5:57 pm

    California needs to do away with the initiative process altogether, or limit it to only spending bills.

    The only good things to ever come out of it are prop 30 and prop 215. This state has enough whacko right-wingers to get these things on the ballot. The right-wingers in red-states have pretty much done everything to eff over the liberals in their states, it's time we return the favor.

  • 11. Bruno71  |  November 12, 2013 at 6:01 pm

    I don't know if I want to get rid of it, but I'd love to have a ballot question that says that matters of civil rights can't be voted on by the people put into the constitution. Probably fat chance.

  • 12. John  |  November 12, 2013 at 7:07 pm

    And hopefully that means the Legislature can just pass another version.

  • 13. Bruno71  |  November 12, 2013 at 8:29 pm

    Yes I would think they could, though at a much later date, when poll numbers would support it, I would think. We all know how spineless politicians can be. I'm really hoping it won't come to all that…maybe somehow this will be stopped, or the people will be wise to the right-wing trickery.

  • 14. Michelle Evans  |  November 12, 2013 at 10:26 pm

    Unfortunately they are probably right that they can get away with this for trans people.

  • 15. Brian  |  November 12, 2013 at 11:02 pm

    The initiative process in California is a joke. Why even have a legislature and governor. I was proud to be from Massachusetts when the Governor was asked why they don't put marriage equality on the ballot, he answered 'we don't vote on other poeples civil rights here'.

  • 16. Ed C  |  November 13, 2013 at 6:30 am

    Either limit the process to spending bills, which would still allow the voters to screw things up, or make a 2/3 majority required to pass any initiative. The current simple majority sets the bar far too low.

  • 17. Deeelaaach  |  November 13, 2013 at 7:29 am

    I believe I heard that the CA initiative process requires a certain number of signatures, based on the turnout for a previous election – though I'm not sure of the details surrounding the previous election. Is this correct? If this is correct, would changing that to a certain percentage of registered voters be better – essentially raising the bar for putting anything into the initiative process? Just thinking out loud here – my brain is too fogged over right now to think this through.

    And yes, I too am trans so I would be affected by this to a small extent. My children don't need saved from me, though I'm sure my ex and some of my family would disagree!

  • 18. Bruno71  |  November 13, 2013 at 9:04 am

    The Massachusetts legislature came dangerously close to referring an amendment ballot measure to the public on SSM. It's harder, but not impossible by any means.

  • 19. Zack12  |  November 13, 2013 at 9:28 am

    Indeed,I think some people forget Romney was NO supporter of ours when marriage equality passed and did everything from enforcing a centuries old law to ensure gay and lesbian couples couldn't come here to pushing for a ballot measure.
    Romney is not now nor was he ever a supporter of the LGBT community and I shudder to think how he would have reacted after the DOMA ruling.

  • 20. Michelle Evans  |  November 13, 2013 at 10:51 am

    I believe you are correct in the way they figure the number of signatures needed, but am not totally sure on that. I do know that in this specific case I have heard that 505,000 valid signatures had to be gathered in a 90 day period in order for this to qualify for the ballot next November. Since they say they got over 600,000 then it is almost a guarantee that this will be put to the voters.

    The fact that in 90 days they could easily find 600,000 people in this state willing to vote on the rights of trans people is a very sad sentiment of the state of morality. And if passed by a vote next year (which it almost certainly will do because of the hatred and misunderstanding of trans) it will set back the cause of transgender rights by many years. It could also very well lead to more such initiatives against trans people, not just students. Think of how they will crow if they prevent trans students from using the correct bathroom at school. They will say the next thing will be to eliminate the rights of all trans people to use any public bathroom that does not match their birth gender no matter if they have transitioned or not. The list is endless at what they could do if this pandoras box is opened against us.

  • 21. michell  |  November 13, 2013 at 12:06 pm

    They should equality is for all Americans since when did it becaome about sexuality!!!!!!!!! Never says that it the Amendments of the US Consatution!

  • 22. michell  |  November 13, 2013 at 12:07 pm

    SOO true!

  • 23. michell  |  November 13, 2013 at 12:17 pm

    Yes, The right wingers (GOP) & Tea Baggers, (they are not the Tea Party) it is the same thing for the unborn Child but once that Child is born…. the Child is SOL. They do not want to feed, insure or educate The are so two faced and out of touch with the real world! The Boston Tea Party was about taxation without representation, the Tea Baggers are just upset their guy did not win.

  • 24. Seth From Maryland  |  November 13, 2013 at 12:21 pm

    i'm not sure how i feel about getting rid of the initiative myself , on one hand i agree with civil rights issues should not be allowed on the ballot, however there are initiatives that i support because state government's won't move forward on some issues, one of them being marijuana

  • 25. SPQRobin  |  November 13, 2013 at 4:38 pm

    I think a reasonable requirement would be that it needs to pass with an absolute majority of the *electorate* and not just those who turn out to vote. Far too often the majority in the election does not represent the majority of the population. This requirement would only let the ballot questions with wide consensus pass (although there's still the problem that the majority is not always right).

    A good example is http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Carolina_Amend… (35% turnout) which might not have passed with this requirement.

  • 26. mnbob  |  November 13, 2013 at 5:13 pm

    Minnesota has a good set up where constitutional amendments need 51% of people voting to vote in favor of it.

    Not voting on the amendment = an automatic no vote.

  • 27. Paul S  |  November 13, 2013 at 5:33 pm

    Not to mention the damage that it will do to trans kids just by having to hear this BS about them flung around. This honestly makes me sick and we should either fight this by painting these anti's as the bullies that they are, or refuse to fight this at the polls and use the courts instead.

  • 28. Stefan  |  November 13, 2013 at 6:12 pm

    Thankfully even if that wasn't the case we still would've defeated the amendment last year.

  • 29. reborn  |  November 13, 2013 at 7:18 pm

    NOM has their new mission in life to save America's children from the transgender.

  • 30. Carol  |  November 15, 2013 at 1:21 pm

    600,000 signatures, even if all are valid, represent only 3% of the state's registered voters. Probably they could have been easily collected in the relatively sparsely populated and more conservative counties of the state. While I don't want to see this on the ballot, I don't think it will be accepted by the majority of California voters.

  • 31. Bruno71  |  November 15, 2013 at 1:49 pm

    I hope it won't be accepted by Californians. But more than ever I feel this could really come down to advertising. The bigot side will sell this much in the way the "bathroom bills" have been maligned in places like Gainesville, Florida. Except in this case, it's not part of overall LGBT workplace/public accommodations, but specific to the transgender population. Our side has to really show that this is about protecting a minority, and is in no way intrusive to the majority. We'll have to also combat whatever lies they trot out in advertising. I hope we get some money behind this effort.

  • 32. Justicia  |  November 15, 2013 at 2:18 pm

    Seems to me this is really only about Brian, NOM and Pugno finding a new untapped source of scare revenue. So the advertising will be frightful and their "base" will turn out en masse. Now that SSM is no longer producing enough money to support their discrimination industry they must keep finding new scapegoats to keep it going in the tradition of the High Priests of the Temple.
    Sad way to make a living! Quare as to weather they will get big Mormon and Catholic money?

  • 33. Ed M  |  January 8, 2014 at 3:44 pm

    Random sample counting for the initiative was due to the SOS office today. According to the sample, the count was 482,582, less than the 504,760 needed but more than 95% of the signatures submitted (479,522) to bring about a full signature verification. According to the SOS website: If the result of the random sample indicates that the number of valid signatures represents between 95% and 110% of the required number of signatures to qualify the initiative measure for the ballot, the Secretary of State directs the county elections officials to verify every signature on the petition. This process is referred to as a full check of signatures. Usually when every signature is verified the count goes down, not up. Let us hope this is the beginning of the end for this divisive and cruel ballot initiatyive and that it never makes it to the ballot.

  • 34. Michelle Evans  |  January 8, 2014 at 3:53 pm

    It is just extremely sad that this has even made it this far. The initiative drive should never have been approved in the first place since it is so very wrong on so many levels to put anyone's rights up for a popular vote–as we saw so sadly with Prop 8. But thank you Ed for the update, and I sincerely hope that you are correct about the number of signatures going down on the full count. Just sorry that this will drag on for a few more months.

  • 35. jennydesuza  |  March 14, 2014 at 5:34 am

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