Opinion

A credible threat to California's transgender bathroom law

#Privacyforall launches a second, more viable, attempt to undo California's transgender law

In late 2013, the group Privacy For All tried to repeal a new California law allowing transgender students to use the bathroom facilities and play on sports teams of the gender with which they identify. Happily, it failed.

Not for trying, though. The group gathered many more than the 504,760 signatures required to get a referendum on the 2014 ballot, but not enough of them were valid, according to the secretary of state’s office. That derailed what could have been an ugly rerun of the Proposition 8 fight.

The group is back this year with a similar proposal -- and a much lower bar to qualify, only 365,880 signatures, thanks to paltry voter turnout last year. 

The Personal Privacy Protection Act, filed with the California attorney general Friday, goes even further than a repeal of the law, which applied to schools. This proposal applies to public bathrooms in all government buildings and requires they be used by folks only “in accordance with their biological sex.”

It allows businesses to follow the same rules without the threat of lawsuit. Under the proposed act, people who feel their privacy in the bathroom has been violated by a transgender person would have the right to sue for no less than $4,000.

The editorial board has appropriately made it a rule not to weigh in on every idea proposed for the ballot, and not just because there are so many. There’s simply no need. If history is any indication, most will never make it past the signature-gathering phase because they are too silly or so repugnant even the most open-minded person is put off by the petition. We might not have even opined about the horrible anti-sodomy ballot proposal had it not gained notoriety when the attorney general and legislators acted to keep if off the ballot.

What makes the Personal Privacy Protection Act proposal worthy of attention at this early stage, unlike, say, the “The President of California Act," is that it is a credible effort from a determined organization. Indeed, if the group had been able to wait a year to circulate its petitions, it might well have already qualified for the next ballot.

People should know when confronted by a petition for this initiative that they are signing the state up for a kind of Prop. 8, Part 2.

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