A coalition of anti-gay groups has failed to secure enough support for a referendum on California’s Fair Education Act.

Anti-gay campaigners announced yesterday that they did not collect enough signatures for a vote on the pro-LGBT law in November.

The Fair Education Act, which came into force in January, ensures that all children learn about figures such as San Francisco gay rights campaigner Harvey Milk. It also bans “discriminatory” teaching materials.

This is the second time that the coalition, Pacific Justice Institute, has failed to win backing for a public vote.

Campaigners gained around 446,000 of the 550,000 signatures needed, but said they had not used paid canvassers.

Kevin Snider, chief counsel to the Pacific Justice Institute, said in a statement: “Placing a measure on the ballot through grassroots efforts alone has not been done in California in recent memory.

“Although history was against us, our conscience compelled the coalition to fight this battle rather than doing nothing.”

Brad Dacus, president and founder of the Pacific Justice Institute said: “This campaign was a struggle to protect the children of our state. While the failure to gather the necessary signatures may be a disappointment, giving up on the most vulnerable members of our society would be unforgivable.”