Privacy for All Students Coalition Launches Referendum Campaign to Let Voters Decide Fate of School Bathroom and Shower Legislation
SACRAMENTO, Aug. 26, 2013 /Christian Newswire
/ -- A coalition of parents, students, nonprofit and faith groups today launched a referendum effort to give voters the right to decide whether to accept legislation that gives students the ability to utilize intimate school facilities such as showers, rest rooms and locker rooms based on their so-called gender identity and not their actual sex. The legislation also allows students to participate on formerly sex-segregated school sports and athletics teams based on gender identity. AB 1266 was signed into law on August 12th and is the only legislation of its kind ever enacted in America.
"AB 1266 is extreme, poorly drafted and utterly lacking in standards and safeguards," said Karen England, Executive Director of Capitol Resource Institute and a member of the Privacy for All Students coalition. "California law already protects transgendered students against discrimination and bullying. This bill is rife for abuse and subjects all California students to an unwarranted invasion of privacy, allowing them to be exposed to fully mature students of the opposite sex in school showers, bathrooms and locker rooms. It goes way too far."
The Privacy for All Students coalition must collect approximately 505,000 voter signatures by November 12th to qualify the referendum to the November 2014 ballot. Once signatures are submitted to elections officials, the law is put on hold and does not take effect until voters approve or reject it.
Existing California law prohibits discrimination and bullying against students on the basis of gender, gender identity, sexual orientation and gender non-conforming appearance and behavior. Further, some school districts have existing policies giving students access to facilities and athletic teams based on gender identity, but those policies have provisions that seek to provide safeguards and balance the interests of all students. AB 1266 contains no such provisions.
"AB 1266 is not about protecting the rights of transgender students because they are already protected against discrimination and bullying under California law," said Dr. John Eastman, professor of law at Chapman University and former Dean of the Chapman University School of Law. "It's about an adult political agenda that seeks to use the public schools to strip gender and gender differences from societal norms. It's the wrong agenda for California, and it's particularly wrong of these advocates to use school children as a weapon in waging their culture war."
Initial members of the Privacy for All Students coalition includes the Capitol Resource Institute, Pacific Justice Institute, Faith and Public Policy, Calvary Chapel Chino Hills, and ActRight, a national clearinghouse for conservative activists headed by Brian S. Brown.
"We all want students to be safe in school, but AB 1266 is so poorly crafted that it jeopardizes the safety of students," said Pastor Jack Hibbs of Calvary Chapel Chino Hills. "The bill forces a clumsily-drafted one-size fits all solution on California that is completely lacking in safeguards and guidelines, provides no role for parental involvement and fails to balance the interests of all students. It should be rejected."
Student leaders also spoke out against the legislation. "Our student body is supportive of all students, including those who consider themselves to be transgender. But it's wrong to subject students to being exposed to people of the opposite sex in intimate situations such as showers and restrooms," said one student leader with the coalition. "There are many less-intrusive approaches that can be adopted at the local level without sacrificing the privacy, safety and security of others, and without opening our showers, restrooms and locker rooms to abuse by students who wish to take advantage and misuse the law."
ActRight's president predicted that people throughout California and around the nation would rally to support the referendum campaign.
"This legislation is so extreme and far out of the mainstream that it will serve as a catalyst for involving parents and others in the effort to overturn it," said Brian Brown, ActRight's president. "The bill is so poorly crafted that a student need not ever have demonstrated any identification with the opposite gender before showing up demanding access to intimate school facilities reserved for members of the opposite sex. I have no doubt that people across the ideological spectrum, of all faiths, backgrounds and beliefs will oppose this extreme legislation."
The coalition also announced that Frank Schubert of Mission Public Affairs, LLC has agreed to advise the coalition during the referendum qualification phase and will manage the campaign once it qualifies for the ballot. Schubert, twice named the nation's top political consultant, has managed 15 California ballot initiative and referendum campaigns, winning 14 of them, including passing Proposition 8 in 2008. He explained his reasons for supporting the referendum campaign in an article written for Flash Report