Metro Weekly

California anti-transgender bathroom referendum won’t appear on ballot

Personal Privacy Protection Act falls short of signatures needed to qualify for 2016 ballot

 California state capitol.jpg
California state capitol.jpg

A socially conservative group out of California has failed to collect enough petition signatures from registered voters to qualify an anti-transgender piece of legislation onto the 2016 ballot, the group acknowledged on Monday. 

“Today is the day that Privacy For All should be submitting the signatures required to qualify the Personal Privacy Protection Act for the November 2016 ballot. Unfortunately we fell short of the signatures needed,” the group Privacy for All wrote on its Facebook page. “While we are extremely disappointed, we know that we gave this effort our best and ‘left it all on the field.'”

Privacy for All and several conservative organizations that were behind the anti-gay marriage Proposition 8 in 2008 had hoped to place the Personal Privacy Protection Act on the 2016 ballot in order to reverse provisions of a 2013 bill signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown (D) that allow transgender students to use the bathroom and locker room that conform with their gender identity.

If enacted, the act would have required transgender people to use facilities intended for their biological sex at birth in all government buildings, allowed businesses to demand the same bathroom policy without fear of legal ramifications, and would have assessed fines of at least $4,000 against government entities or individuals that did not require transgender people to use restrooms based on their sex at birth. 

Privacy for All attempted to petition the law to the ballot in 2014, but fell short after the California Secretary of State’s office threw out more than 131,000 invalid signatures out of 620,000 collected. Because 2014 had lower turnout than 2012, the threshold for petitioning measures to the ballot was significantly smaller this year, requiring only 365,880 signatures. The leaders of the group did not say how short of the required threshold their collection efforts fell, reports the Los Angeles Times

“The people of California saw our opponents’ campaign for what it was — a blatant effort to undermine the rights and freedoms of transgender people,” Chad Griffin, the president of the Human Rights Campaign, said in a statement. “By categorically rejecting such discrimination, Californians have affirmed their support for the equal rights and dignity of all people. We, like the people of California, are committed to continue working to ensure that cruel and senseless efforts against our fellow community members are always stopped in their tracks.”

“All Californians — no matter their race, age, gender or sexual orientation — should have the same freedom to support their families and go about their lives without fear of discrimination,” Kris Hayashi, the executive director of the Transgender Law Center, said in a statement. “This initiative was a poorly veiled attack on transgender people that sought to undermine that freedom and single out for harassment anyone who doesn’t meet stereotypes of what it looks like to be male or female. Today Californians have made clear these types of discriminatory attacks on transgender people and our families, communities, and neighborhoods have no place in our state.”

However, opponents of the 2013 law have vowed to continue to try and repeal its provisions on bathroom and locker room use. To protect against future assaults on transgender rights, Equality California and the Transgender Law Center are planning to launch a statewide public education campaign. The aim of the campaign is to combat misunderstandings about transgender people and the discrimination and harassment they often face.

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