SACRAMENTO -- A measure to block California’s transgender students rights law failed to qualify for the November ballot Monday, according to the secretary of state’s office.
The referendum would have repealed a law passed last year that requires school districts to let transgender students participate in school programs and use school facilities, such as bathrooms and locker rooms, based on their gender identity instead of their biological sex.
The measure was backed by a coalition called Privacy for All Students. Supporters submitted more than 619,000 signatures, but only 487,484 were found to be valid by county officials, missing the threshold to qualify by about 17,000 signatures.
The measure’s backers vowed Monday evening to challenge the results of the signature count.
“We are ready to review and challenge every signature that was not counted toward the referendum of this impudent and in-your-face bill,” said Brad Dacus, president of Pacific Justice Institute, a conservative legal group. “Our children’s privacy is worth doing all that we can.”
Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, who sponsored the law, AB 1266, blasted the initiative’s backers 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,” said Ammiano in a statement.
Masen Davis, executive director of the Transgender Law Center, said he was “relieved on behalf of the students of California that were worried about the referendum effort.”
He said he was now looking forward to working on implementation of the law. He says school districts around the state have been in contact with his organization for guidance on how to incorporate the law into their policies.