SACRAMENTO -- Conservatives are gearing up to fight a new law requiring schools to let transgender students use bathrooms and locker rooms that correspond with their gender identity instead of their physical sex.
Two activists, with the support of a conservative legal group called the Pacific Justice Institute, began Friday the process for overturning the measure at the ballot box. They have just under 90 days to collect 504,760 signatures to qualify their referendum for the November 2014 ballot.
Brad Dacus, president of the Pacific Justice Institute, said the new law does a bad job balancing the interest of transgender students and their classmates.
“It’s a very extreme piece of legislation that grotesquely violates the right of privacy of boys and girls throughout California’s public schools,” he said. “No 13-year-old girls should have to have the continued apprehension of a boy seeing them naked in the locker room.”
The other activists who filed the referendum are Karen England, head of the Capitol Resource Institute and a former write-in Republican candidate for lieutenant governor, and Gina Gleason, director of the Watchmen Ministry.
A recent USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll showed Californians were uncertain about the law on transgender students, which was signed by Gov. Jerry Brown this week. Forty-three percent said they favored the measure, while 46% were opposed.
Supporters say the law will make schools a more inclusive and welcoming place for transgender students. Los Angeles and San Francisco already have similar policies in place, and officials there say there haven’t been any problems.
Meanwhile, Assemblyman Tim Donnelly (R-Twin Peaks) wrote a column on the conservative website WND saying he plans to remove his two sons from public school.
“It is completely unreasonable to expect teenagers, who are uncomfortable with themselves at this age, to accept this level of privacy invasion,” he wrote, calling the new law a “recipe for disaster.”