US: California group files lawsuit after ‘signatures’ fail to ballot trans bathroom rights law

Aaron Day December 22, 2013
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A California organisation who claimed to have gathered enough signatures to ballot a new law supporting trans students is now filing a lawsuit against the state government, after officials found that only 77 percent of the signatures actually qualified.

The act, known as AB1266, was signed into law in August. From January 1, it aims to  allow transgender students equal access to school facilities such as locker rooms.

Frank Schubert, the campaign manager for Privacy For All Students, previously said his group had gathered 620,000 signatures allowing it to qualify for a ballot measure so that it can put the act on hold.

However, according to Associated Press, the group now says that although couriers delivered the signatures ahead of the deadline on 10 November to Tulare and Mono County, the petitions were not counted in these areas because of the Veteran’s Day weekend.

On Thursday, it filed a lawsuit against the secretary of state and the two counties which it claims are refusing to validate the signatures.

Pastor Jack Hibbs, one of the group’s founders, said: “Sadly, (the lawsuit) has been forced upon us.

“We needed 505,000 signatures. We obtained 615,127. So yes, we’re very confident… It was the greatest gathering of signatures for a referendum or petition in the shortest period of time. At one point, we were gathering 6,000 signatures a day.

“We believe every California registered voter who signed the petition, their voices should be heard.

“It’s an ill-conceived bill… Somebody should go back to the drawing board and come back with something better.

California officials previously said an early random sampling from counties through the secretary of state’s office found only 77 percent of the signatures qualifying.

John O’Connor, the executive director with Equality California, said Privacy For All Students was an attempt to enforce discriminatory conduct.

He said: “It’s really upsetting. These are kids that just want to fit in, just want to go to school and just want to participate like everyone else.”

Among others attempting to repeal the law is the chair of the California-based Jelly Belly Candy Company, who recently donated $5,000 (£3,091) to the campaign.

Related topics: AB1266, Americas, associated press, California, Equality California, frank schubert, John O'Connor, student, Trans, Transgender, transphobic, US, Veteran's Day

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