Contact: Karen England, 916-212-5607, 916-498-1940 ext. 10
SACRAMENTO, Feb. 24, 2014 /Christian Newswire/ -- Today California's Secretary of State announced that the signatures submitted to qualify a referendum of AB 1266, the co-ed bathroom bill, fell short of the 504,760 signatures required.
But Privacy For All Students, the organization that collected and submitted the signatures, was quick to point out that the process is not over. "The Secretary of State, along with officials in the 58 counties are charged with validating the signatures presented," said Gina Gleason, proponent of the referendum. "Only after the Secretary of State announces her count do we get a chance to look at the signatures that were thrown out and begin to challenge those results."
PFAS submitted approximately 620,000 signatures in early November. While the organization acknowledges that some of those signatures will be defective, they have maintained throughout the process that more than the required number would ultimately be declared valid. Today the Secretary of State declared 487,484 signatures valid and rejected 131,857 .
"For awhile it looks like the process is all one sided in favor of the government," said Kevin Snider, an attorney with the Pacific Justice Institute. "But eventually there is transparency and the referendum proponents get a chance to challenge the results."
Snider noted that it is common for proponents to challenge the initial count by the government, and that today's results should be seen as a floor, not a ceiling on the number of signatures that will ultimately be declared valid. "Many counties set a very high threshold to declare a signature valid. But the courts have repeatedly set a standard that is much friendlier to the voter offering his or her signature. Unfortunately the referendum proponents will have to ask a judge to step in to assure that all valid signatures are counted."
PFAS has already once asked a judge to step in to force the Secretary of State to count signatures. The court quickly ruled that the Secretary of State was required to include several thousand signatures from two northern California counties. PFAS has vowed to return to court to assure that all valid signatures are counted.
Some fear that the process of qualifying the referendum will overshadow the core issue, whether California public school children should be allowed to choose the bathroom, locker room and shower facility that aligns with their self described gender identity. "In the six months since the Governor signed AB 1266, we have watched this issue grow from just another odd California proposal to a national push to sexually integrate bathrooms and locker rooms," said Karen England, a member of the PFAS executive committee. "AB 1266 has highlighted the contrasting approaches of those who believe that public policy should be shaped by an individual's self described sexual identity and those that believe that public policy should reflect sexual reality. While we have compassion for those who are uncomfortable in traditional, sex separate bathrooms, we also have compassion for those who see their privacy and safety jeopardized when boys and girls are forced to share bathrooms, locker rooms and showers."
For more information on AB 1266 and the referendum, visit the PFAS web site at www.privacyforallstudents.com
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