Privacy For All Students, a coalition of parents, students, non-profit and faith groups, announced on Sunday, November 9, 2013, that they had collected 620,000 signatures in an effort to repeal California’s transgender rights law, AB1266. Political strategist Frank Schubert, who led the Prop. 8 campaign and contributed to the effort to block of same-sex marriage legislation in North Carolina and Maine, organized the signature campaign.
Of the 620,000 signatures, one-third were collected by paid contractors and the rest by volunteers. The total exceeds the 505,000 signatures necessary under California state law to place an initiative on the ballot. California’s 58 counties will verify both the count and legitimacy of the submitted signatures. Verification entails a lengthy process which could potentially take over two months. If a sufficient number of signatures are ultimately confirmed, the initiative to repeal AB1266 will appear on the November 2014 ballot.
Sponsored by Assemblyman Tom Ammanio, D-San Francisco, AB1266 was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown on August 12, 2013. It allows transgender K-12 students to use the restroom and locker room of either gender as well as choose to participate in girls’ or boys’ sports teams. The bill seeks to decrease discrimination and bullying and increase the comfort of transgender students. California is the first state in the country to pass a law granting specific rights to transgender students.
Supporters of AB1266, such as Equality California’s Executive Director John O’Connor, remain confident in public support for LGBT rights. Those in favor of repeal claim that the bill infringes on the privacy and safety of non-transgender students. Both supporters and opponents foresee that the initiative could cause controversy and division similar to Proposition 8.