A lot can happen in more than five years. In 2008 a Mormon church-led ballot proposition to ban same-sex marriage was approved by California voters.
Last year Prop. 8 was essentially dismissed by the U.S. Supreme Court, making gay marriage legal again in the Golden State. And now an effort by religious conservatives to overturn a state law granting transgender students equal rights at California public schools has failed miserably.
According to the Secretary of State, …
… organizers behind the “Referendum to Overturn Non-Discrimination Requirements for School Programs and Activities” only turned in 78.70 percent of the valid signatures they would have needed to make the November ballot.
The effort sought to overturn AB 1266, legislation that became law Jan. 1. Author Tom Ammiano, a Bay Area state assemblyman, explained that it ensures …
… that students who are transgender have equal access to facilities and activities like sports teams that match their gender. … Public schools would be required to respect a transgender student's identity in all school programs, activities and facilities.
Opponents were concerned that transgender students who identify more as girls but who were born as boys would be using female restrooms and locker facilities.
Ammiano said this late yesterday:
The forces putting this referendum together included the people that make money off promoting hate and professional fear mongers, who took advantage of what other people didn't understand. Although it's clear that California is moving in the direction of equality and respect, this does not mean the struggle is over. For every child like Pat Cordova – accepted on her Azusa High school's softball team last week – there is another child living with a secret because of bullying. The people who belittle the rights of transgender students should know their efforts encourage the bullies. It is their intolerance that allows the violence to continue, and that violence affects every child, not just transgender students. They should be ashamed.
Transgender Law Center executive director Masen Davis:
This law gives schools the guidelines and flexibility to create an environment where all kids have the opportunity to learn. We need to focus on creating an environment where every student is able to do well and graduate. This law is about doing what's best for all students – that's why it's supported by school boards, teachers, and the PTA.