A group trying to repeal a new California law that seeks to protect and provide equal opportunity to transgender students has failed to qualify their referendum for the ballot based on a spot count of signatures.
The referendum fell 22,178 signatures short of the 504,760 needed to qualify in the first random count, but the result must still be confirmed with a full count of signatures.
There is still a chance the measure could make the ballot if the full count differs significantly from the random spot count.
To qualify outright for the ballot, it would have been necessary for 90% of randomly selected signatures to prove valid.The random sampling process projected a validity rate of 77.93% so the threshold was not met.
The California School Success and Opportunity Act, which went info effect on 1 January, allows transgender teens access to the facilities of their choice and to play on the sports teams of their choice.
The anti-gay National Organization for Marriage (NOM) group that put same-sex marriage on the ballot in California in 2008 has led the campaign for its repeal. NOM and its allies have been collecting signatures to place a repeal on the November 2014 ballot.
NOM president Brian Brown (pictured) has claimed the law was part of a wider conspiracy to end traditional gender roles in the United States and has claimed that allowing transgender students to use showers and bathrooms according to their gender identity is damaging to children.
Masen Davis, executive director of the Transgender Law Center, expressed relief that the referendum has not qualified for the ballot and is hopeful a full count will not alter that result.
'As we wait for a full count of the signatures we will continue to help schools implement policies that ensure all students are able to participate, and we will continue to share the stories of transgender youth and their families,' Davis said.
Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center CEO Lorri L. Jean points out that for the past eight years, the LA Unified School District has been offering the same protections to transgender students that are in the new state law.
'This law does nothing more than offer basic protections for some of the most vulnerable and most marginalized in our community,' Jean said. 'It allows them to simply use the school bathroom that matches their gender identity and to participate on appropriate sports teams.'
'Unfortunately,' she added. 'we know anti-LGBT extremists will employ outrageous scare tactics in an attempt to convince voters otherwise, despite conclusive evidence that protecting transgender kids causes no harm to anyone else.'