Arguably the most progressive of all states California is going to support for opening public restroom and shower facilities to both genders, to accommodate the wishes of some transgender people. However there is an opposition to this concept.
Approximately 620,000 Californians signed a petition to force a referendum on a 2013 state law that guarantees transgender students in public schools the right to use the restroom and shower facilities of their choice, based on their self-perceived gender. The meaning of is to use by boys girls' restrooms and the other way around. Privacy for All, the group behind the petition drive, wanted citizens to have the opportunity to void that law.
But the state invalidated thousands of signatures leaving it short of the number needed to force a referendum.
Privacy for all believes that those signatures were wrongly invalideted and started a new petition drive using the broader strategy. They want a statewide vote on a proposal that would preserve single-sex restrooms in all facilities that are at least partially funded from budget.
The proposal would also allow private businesses to maintain single-sex restrooms, and offer them legal protection if they force employees or customers to use the segregated facilities.
It would also permit individuals whose privacy is violated by a person of the opposite sex using the same restroom to file a civil claim.Those prevented from using a restroom due to the presence of someone of the opposite sex would also be allowed to sue.
The proposal could appear on the November 2016 state ballot if the group can obtain approximately 366,000 valid signatures. Considering the number of people who signed the previous petition, reaching the new goal may not be difficult.
The new petition drive needs far fewer signatures than the previous one, because the number required is based on a percentage of the number of voters who participated in the most recent gubernatorial election, according to Karen England, executive director of Capitol Resource Institute and a spokesperson for Privacy for All.
"That (petition drive) was historic," England said. "It was the first time in California where that many signatures were gathered using mostly volunteers to gather them. Whether it was Tea Party members standing outside of Wal-Marts or moms going to PTA meetings or their churches, they gathered an awful lot of signatures in 75 days.
England said it's possible that both proposals could end up on the state ballot in 2016.
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