Anti-Gay Attack on California Transgender Law Not Likely To Qualify for Referendum

Earlier this month, Prop. 8 mastermind Frank Schubert, who is leading the charge against California's law protecting transgender students in the form of a ballot measure referendum, announced that he turned in 620,000 signatures to qualify the measure and predicted victory for the initiative.

SchubertNow, it looks like he may fail, the Washington Blade reports:

A total of 504,760 signatures were due last Thursday, which are required to place the law, known as the School Success & Opportunity Act, on the ballot for the 2014 election. Opponents of the measure, led by the Privacy for All Students Coalition, submitted 613,120 signatures from a majority of state counties in favor of overturning the law.

But they’re averaging just 75 percent authenticity in the random sample as of Friday, which is significantly below the average ultimately needed to qualify. If the number of valid signatures is less than 95 percent of the 504,760 needed, the measure would fail to qualify for the ballot.

John O’Connor, executive director of Equality California, said “it’s unlikely, [but] it’s not impossible” that the measure will come up for referendum given the signature validation percentage at this point.

The law was signed by Governor Jerry Brown in August. It "requires California public schools to respect students’ gender identity and ensures transgender students have access to school activities, facilities and sports teams in accordance with their gender identity."


  1. TonyJazz says

    This onerous referendum is the lowest of the low: a ballot measure intended to pick on the smallest of minorities.

    If the Republican party attaches itself to this horrible item, they will continue to bring great shame on themselves.

    There is no good purpose here, and even if it were to pass—no behaviors would be changed. Only hateful bigotry would be heard….

  2. Bill says

    Frank Schubert may be a rightwinger and may be anti-gay as part of that, but the effort to repeal this law has nothing to do with gay people and is not antigay. This is a bad law that should be repealed. The trans activists, as usual, think they can manipulate the gays into fighting their wars for them.

    Also, they have only checked signatures for a few very small counties, so you can’t possibly generalize from that and say it will or won’t qualify. It would be like calling an election after 1% of the precincts were counted, when you have no idea how the other 99% of the precincts have voted.

  3. Bill says


    Lol! They didn’t “pick” on anyone. The legislature passed a law that they disagree with and they are using a lawful means to repeal it. If the leg hadn’t passed it, they wouldn’t be doing this. And if its repeal won’t change any behaviors, then why do you care? Everything will be the same, according to you.

  4. says

    I’m not fighting alongside transgendered people because they’ve “manipulated” me, “Bill The Troll”, but because I have a heart and a brain and was raised by my parents to care for others, and understand the strength in numbers. Go back to where you can enjoy a eunuch circlejerk.

    Those with integrity and an understanding of what others go through stand in solidarity with them. The miserable and hateful sit at their computers being angry about their own lot in life.

    That these hateful groups are intentionally targeting trans youth with their venom is disgusting beyond words. That anonymous wimps online defend them is, at least, a nice reminder that most people with hate in their hearts also don’t have spines in their backs.

  5. Brian says

    Andy, your math and logic seem off. You say the measure won’t be placed on the ballot if the authentic signatures are “less than 95% of the 504,760 needed.” No, they need all of the 504,760. That’s the threshold. If you meant to talk about the percentage of the 613,120 signatures that were submitted, 95% is still incorrect. If a little more than 82% of those signatures are valid, the measure will qualify. That’s not a whole lot more than the 75% in the early vetting, so I am going to remain nervous until this is all over.

  6. Derrick from Philly says

    Bill, the following is devoted to you.:

    Gay and Trans together

    Gay and Trans together

    Gay and Trans together some daa’a’a’ay

    Oh, deep in my heart, I do believe

    Gay and Trans together some day

  7. Kevin_BGFH says

    Bill, you’re wrong about the math here. The minute they turned in their signatures, I knew there was a strong chance they wouldn’t qualify. There are always invalid signatures — like people who weren’t registered to vote at all, or were registered in a different county. In California, professional signature gathering organizations generally estimate that they need to collect 50% more signatures than needed to compensate for invalid ones, and they only collected 21% more than needed. Also, a majority of the signatures were collected by unpaid volunteers, and historically those ones tend to have higher invalid rates. I would be surprised if they manage to succeed to get it on the ballot as a referendum.

    If they try again as an initiative (which allows the law to go into effect while they try to repeal or modify the law), that may be different, as they will have more time to gather signatures, but not that much more time.

  8. says

    “Frank Schubert may be a rightwinger and may be anti-gay as part of that, but the effort to repeal this law has nothing to do with gay people and is not antigay.”

    Nonsense. Frank Schubert’s and NOM’s participation in trying to repeal the law has everything to do with them being anti-gay. Anti-gay doesn’t sell in CA now, so they’re moving to anti-trans. The animosity behind this attempt no different than that behind Prop 8, and Frank would be the first to tell you that.

  9. cidr says

    The process of a ballot measure qualifying in California is (IIRC) as follows:
    Y signatures are turned in.
    A random sample of the signatures is counted, resulting in a percentage of valid signatures, X.
    If X*Y is less than 95% of the qualification threshold, the measure does not make the ballot. If X*Y is greater than 110% of the qualification threshold, the measure makes the ballot. If X*Y is between 95% and 110% of the qualification threshold, then all of the signatures are counted, and the measure makes the ballot only if it has more valid signatures than the qualification threshold.

    This process is meant to save the state significant resources. I believe that it may be possible to contest the approximate count to insist on a full count, but there is probably a significant cost to the individual or group that contests it.

  10. Thedrdonna says

    Gender nonconforming children mostly grow out of it and do not transition all the way once they reach adulthood. Some do, but most don’t. However! Of those who do not fully transition in adulthood, a very high number are LGB once they’ve matured. So, if you are fighting protections for trans and gender nonconforming youth, then you are fighting against gay children. Don’t hurt gay children.

  11. Bill says

    @cidr: The other guy using “bill” as a name made comments I would not generally agree with, but he sort of had a point about the signatures. The article (you have to use the link to get the details) stated that they examined signatures from 11 counties so far out of a total of 47. In other words, they are still going through the random sample as it takes time to verify signatures. The population of counties are not equal or necessarily even close, so it is not clear what percentage of the random sample was actually checked as of Friday (which is the time at which the 75% number was obtained). With a random sample, you’d expect counties with low populations to verify all their signatures first as they have fewer to check, which suggests that the fraction of the random sample actually checked is less than 11/47. In addition the proponents may not have targeted all counties equally. It is also not clear if the probability
    of a signature being invalid is the same in every county.

    I hope the initiative doesn’t qualify, but I wouldn’t declare it DOA at this point, mainly because we don’t know (a) the size of the random sample and (b) what fraction of it has been actually checked, and (c) how to correct for any biases related to which counties have reported so far.

  12. says

    It sure would be a relief not to have to worry about another ballot measure fight. The law was passed to make daily life a little bit easier for a small group of kids. Give it a chance to work.

  13. says

    @Knock: The motives of those behind this potential referendum (see Frank Schubert, above) are no different than the motives behind Prop 8. They see the law as the next step after “redefining marriage” and another instance of “activists stripping society of appropriate gender roles.” If they succeed in getting on the ballot, it will be all the same money, just re-channeled from an anti-gay measure to an anti-trans measure. Same hate, different pasture.

  14. Scott says

    I still don’t get how this law hurts anyone. It seems to help some. So what is all the fuss about? This is a very small minority so I don’t see how the law will strip society of appropriate gender roles (whatever “appropriate” means), not that I think there would be anything wrong with that in any event as traditional gender roles simply serve to oppress women and entrench the patriarchical system.

  15. Bill says

    Brian and others: In this sampling phase, they only need 95% of the 504,760. A sample is checked in each county. A % of valid sigs is determined and then applied to the total number of sigs that were turned in. If that sampling process shows that they would wind up with at least 95% of the minimum needed to qualify for the ballot(which works out to about 479,000), then they move on to a full check of all signatures.
    So it is actually very close.

    They certainly did want to turn in more than what they did. But they have a decent chance of qualifying anyway. The “50% cushion” is a goal that all initiative proponents strive for, because it means you are virtually guaranteed to qualify and you won’t even have to sweat out a full signature check. But the 50% cushion is a luxury, not a necessity.

    Make no mistake: we are being manipulated by trans activists. That was the entire point of LGBT. To shut down our critical thinking and to make us accept that they are us and we are them and that we therefore have no choice but to do what they want and no right to say no. You can go on almost any trans blog and read about how they view us as a source of labor and money. You will read bitter posts about how terrible we are and how much they hate being tied to us, but how they can’t drop “LGBT” because they need our money and numbers.

    They are too small and too crazy to succeed on their own, so they latch onto a larger group – namely us – and try to emotionally manipulate us into fighting their battles for them. We shouldn’t fall for this con. There isn’t any reason why any LGB should feel obligated to engage on this issue, if it makes the ballot.

    Kiwi, you might decide that you believe in this cause and get involved. But that should be no different than how you approach any other issue out there on the ballot. There is no special reason that a transgender bathroom and locker selection law should engage us above and beyond other issues.

    In fact, it is pretty offensive to suggest that this is a top priority when there are issues that are life and death for millions of people. Maybe we can choose humanitarian relief in the DR Congo, where 3 million people have died, as a higher priority than the bathroom demands of trans activists. In fact, even if you do prioritize trans issues, this wouldn’t be a big item because it only impacts a tiny subset of transgenders and only in a narrow context. It is immoral to spend millions of dollars and tens of thousands of person-hours over where 20 teenagers across CA go to the bathroom between 9 and 3.

  16. Tyler says

    If you see someone posting under my name that links to a website, know it’s our resident troll impersonating me because he HATES when I call out his aliases. Drives him nuts. What a sad troll.

  17. Kevin_BGFH says

    Bill, you’re saying that it’s really close because their 75% valid rate is better than than 66% valid rate of the average initiative. The problem is that they need an 82% success rate — and significantly higher than that for the remaining ones to be counted. And as you’ve said, the 11 counties they’ve counted so far are probably the smaller ones. But in California, the smaller ones tend to be the most conservative. Of course, that may not be an important measure when it comes to collecting signatures, as they may have focused a disproportionate amount of effort in bigger cities, or had better-trained gatherers in other areas, etc. It’s too early to call this one dead on arrival, but I am cautiously optimistic that it will fail to qualify.

  18. Derrick from Philly says

    LOL @ “Would you like to join me in a suicide pact”

    I don’t know if it’s Little Kiwi or whoever, but you’re better than Woody Allen. YOu should be writing movie scripts.

  19. Knock says

    @Ernie – It might be the same people or the same motivation, but that doesn’t make an anti-gay attack out of something specifically anti-transsexual. They could also be notoriously racist, but that wouldn’t make this anti-black either.

  20. js says

    Think about it: If the complaint is that this could let males into the female bathroom to perv on them, isn’t that the same reason to keep gay guys out of the male bathroom? It’s trumped up nonsense from folks who hate all of the letters in LGBT.

  21. says

    @Knock: I believe Andy’s intention with the headline was to say that the attack on the law is from anti-gay individuals and organizations, which it is. It’s of a piece with their Prop 8 work. Perhaps the headline is awkwardly worded, hence the confusion.

    In any event, DrDonna’s initial comment also applies. Among the targets of these anti-gay/trans groups are gay kids who are transgender or gender non-conforming. JS also makes a good point. No doubt they’d try to keep anyone LGBT out of all bathrooms if they could.

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