- (Photo: Justin Short, Governor’s Office)
A group that opposes a recent piece of California legislation mandating co-ed bathroom facilities for public schools has gathered over 620,000 signatures for a ballot initiative against the new law.
Privacy For All Students (PFAS), a grassroots organization founded in 2011, announced Sunday that they hit the 620,000 signature mark, which is well above the minimum needed for an initiative to get on the ballot.
Karen England, member of the PFAS coalition's executive committee, said in a statement that she believed the number might be the largest amount of signatories garnered for any California ballot initiative.
"As far as we are aware, this is the largest number of volunteer signatures ever submitted in a California referendum campaign," said England.
"It shows the degree of opposition that exists to opening the most vulnerable areas of public schools to the opposite sex."
The specific legislation that PFAS is working against is Assembly Bill 1266, which was introduced in February by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco).
"A pupil shall be permitted to participate in sex-segregated school programs and activities, including athletic teams and competitions, and use facilities consistent with his or her gender identity, irrespective of the gender listed on the pupil's records," reads AB 1266 in part.
"Participation in a particular physical education activity or sport, if required of pupils of one sex, shall be available to pupils of each sex."
In April, AB 1266 passed the Assembly's Education Committee in a vote of 5 to 2. From there it went to the Assembly and was passed in May with a vote of 46 ayes, 25 nays, and 8 abstentions.
In June, AB 1266 successfully went through the Senate Committee on Education and was passed by the Senate with a vote of 21 ayes, 9 nays, and 8 abstentions.
AB 1266 was signed into law by California Governor Jerry Brown on August 12. Groups like the Transgender Law Center hailed it as a victory.
Masen Davis, executive director of the Transgender Law Center, said in a statement that the bill's passage into law made Davis "proud of this state and its leaders."
"I extend our deepest gratitude to the Governor, Assembly and Senate for the passage and signing of this bill," said Davis.
"Now, every transgender student in California will be able to get up in the morning knowing that when they go to school as their authentic self they will have the same fair chance at success as their classmates."