SAN FRANCISCO — Californians could face another divisive, expensive battle over LGBT rights now that a coalition of conservative groups has hired the veteran GOP strategist behind Proposition 8 — and raised hundreds of thousands of dollars — to qualify a ballot measure that would repeal a new law requiring schools to make accommodations for transgender students, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
The law, which Gov. Jerry Brown signed in August, says schools must allow transgender students to use the bathrooms and locker rooms and play on sports teams that match their gender identification, the Chronicle article said.
Frank Schubert, the Republican political consultant behind both Prop. 8 and the drive to qualify the latest ballot measure, said conservatives and evangelical voters have reacted to the law with “tremendous discomfort” because it opens up “the most sensitive areas of public schools” and threatens parental rights, the Chronicle said.
A coalition of conservative groups under the umbrella organization Privacy for All Students is circulating 200,000 petitions statewide to qualify a measure invalidating legislation that conservatives have dubbed the “transgender bathroom” law or the “forced coed locker room” law.
Its goal is to gather 505,000 valid signatures by Nov. 12, which supporters say would stop the law from taking effect in January and allow Californians to vote on the issue in November 2014, the Chronicle reported.
The referendum drive was officially endorsed by California Republican Party delegates at their convention in Anaheim earlier this month.
John O’Connor, head of Equality California said his group has started a counter-effort, SupportAllStudents.org, to combat conservatives’ “shrill rhetoric” on the transgender student law, according to the Chronicle article.
He called it “alarming and disappointing that … part of the (Republican) Party would follow fringe hate groups leading this effort.”