SACRAMENTO, February 25, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A California petition drive seeking to put the state’s controversial new ‘choose your own gender’ law on the ballot for possible repeal by voters has failed after the secretary of state determined the referendum’s organizers did not get enough valid signatures to force a public vote.
The petition needed 504,760 signatures in order to force a referendum. Organizers with Privacy for All Students collected over 600,000, but the state threw out 131,857, claiming they were invalid. The remaining 487,484 signatures fell just 17,276 short of the required goal.
But supporters of the referendum say they’re not giving up that easily. Privacy for All Students co-chairs Gina Gleason and Karen England vowed to insist on a careful review of the rejected signatures, especially in San Diego and San Bernardino Counties, where county officials each threw out 14,000 and 13,000 signatures, respectively.
“I don’t believe all of those are unregistered voters or should have been thrown out,” England told The Washington Times. “We believe there are more valid signatures there, and that we are going to be close enough to pick up that difference.”
If successful, the referendum would allow voters to reject a controversial law passed by the state legislature and signed by Gov. Jerry Brown that allows students in the state’s 1,043 public school districts to declare their own gender, regardless of biology.
Self-identified ‘transgender’ students who feel they were born into the wrong bodies would be able to use the restroom and changing facilities of their choice – a situation many concerned parents have called dangerous, especially in junior high schools where boys as old as 15 could end up sharing restroom facilities with girls as young as 11. Self-identified ‘transgender’ students would also be able to play sports on the sex-segregated teams of their choice, forcing girls to compete against and share locker space with boys.
In a message to supporters, England and Gleason said they see the failed count as only a temporary setback, and they remain determined to see to it that the voters get their say.
“At Privacy For All Students we are preparing for the next stage of the battle,” they said. “After months of waiting, we now get to see why so many signatures were thrown out. Certainly some signers were not registered to vote or had moved without changing their address. But it is also certain that many of those signatures were rejected based on reasons that will not survive a legal challenge.”
“This was not totally unexpected,” the pair added. “We knew that we would have to fight to have every valid signature counted. And we have already taken the Secretary of State to court once in this process. In that case, the judge ordered that thousands of signatures be counted. While we prepare for the legal battle ahead to have invalid signatures deemed valid, we should not lose sight of what we are fighting for.”
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Noting that it has been scarcely six months since they founded their group to fight the transgender bathroom bill in their home state, the women said that the issue has now become a matter of national concern, with transgender activists pointing to California as a shining example for other states to follow. They complained that the majority of people who dislike the idea of children being forced to use the restroom alongside the opposite sex are wrongly painted as hateful bigots.
“Across the country, activists are intent on sexually integrating our children’s bathrooms and locker rooms,” they said. “We are told that this is necessary to relieve the discomfort of a few that are uncomfortable in traditional sex separate facilities. But the much greater number that would have their privacy and safety compromised by this radical change are regarded as irrational or irrelevant. And those that are fighting to keep bathrooms separate are labeled as hateful.”
“We are told that gender identity is more important than gender reality,” added the pair. “We are told that feelings trump anatomy. While so many of us want to be compassionate to those that feel that biology has betrayed them, we can’t help but notice that we are living the modern equivalent of the Emperor’s New Clothes.”
Transgender activists celebrated the apparent failure of the petition drive, with gay activist John O’Connor of Equality California telling the Washington Times, “All students in California can breathe a little easier.”
But Gleason and England warned, “The battle is far from over.”
“Privacy For All Students will keep fighting to see this referendum qualified for the November ballot,” they vowed.
LifeSiteNews reached out to Gleason and England for further comment, but they had not replied by press time. This story will be updated with any response they provide.