Co-ed Bathroom Bill One Year Later
One year ago today, California's Governor signed AB 1266. So much has happened in that one year.
AB 1266 was designed to allow public school students in California to use the bathroom, shower and locker room that they believe best aligns with their sexual identity as opposed to their sexual reality.
Those who championed the bill presented a sympathetic case of school children that were so uncomfortable in their bodies that bathrooms and locker rooms were to be feared. But the supposed solution offered by AB 1266 only promised to spread the fear and humiliation to others.
The underlying situation was not new. Educators and parents have been creative and compassionate in dealing with students that feel that biology has betrayed them. They have found private places for these children to change clothes or use the bathroom. But AB 1266 demanded more. This legislation would force boys and girls to share these facilities.
Within days after the signing of this bill, Privacy For All Students was created. We needed to move fast. California law allows voters to challenge a new law by a referendum, but it is a difficult process. Ninety days after the bill was signed, we needed to submit more than 504,000 voter signatures to put AB 1266 to a vote of California citizens.
I knew that the task was huge, but I agreed to be the proponent of this referendum. It was and still is that important.
It was crucial that we show compassion to those students that are uncomfortable in traditional, sex separated facilities. But it was also necessary that we show compassion to those students who would be justifiably uncomfortable when access to bathrooms and locker rooms is increased.
Who would disagree with that position? Are there really people who are so calloused and extreme that they do not have sympathy for the 14-year-old girl exposed in the locker room to a naked 15-year-old boy who identifies as a girl? Apparently so. This bill made it through the Legislature and was signed by the Governor.
But would the people of California actually embrace boys in the girls' locker room? Polling showed that the people of California were eager to have AB 1266 on the ballot and would vote it down decisively. And that was confirmed when PFAS gathered about 620,000 signatures in the ninety days allowed.
All that stood in the way of AB 1266 being voted down on the November 2014 ballot was confirmation of the validity of these signatures. Months after we presented the signatures, the Secretary of State told PFAS that more than 131,000 of our signatures were invalid. While certainly some signers might not be registered voters, PFAS knew that one in five signatures could not be invalid.
PFAS immediately began the process of challenging these results. The law allows me and my representatives to examine the signatures that were invalidated. But we ran into resistance at every turn. We were refused entry, removed once we were allowed to enter, and asked to agree to burdensome restrictions on our review. Even with these obstacles, PFAS confirmed that valid signatures had been rejected.
Encountering so much resistance, PFAS turned to the courts for relief. Crazy as it sounds, the court's initial determination was that we could examine the rejected signatures but we could not force the counties to deliver those rejected signatures to the court. And without the signatures in court, we could not prove that these signatures were improperly invalidated.
I assume that the backers of AB 1266 and their willing helpers in government thought that we could be bullied. If they rejected our signatures, failed to cooperate with our examination, refused to turn over the rejected signatures, and used dozens of government attorneys to present arguments against our efforts, we would just give up. They were wrong. The process is slow and expensive, but we will continue our efforts in court until we obtain the proof that more than enough signatures were turned in.
I am sure that they also thought that all they had to do was delay enough that we could not get this on the November ballot. But there are other ballots.
When I agreed to be the proponent of this referendum, I did not know that I would eventually have to sue the Secretary of State or that the battle would go on for this long. I also did not know the determination of those behind this bill. In the one year since this bill was signed in California, the issue has spread across the country. And with it has come the extreme bullying of its proponents.
We are told that this is an issue of equality, that equal treatment demands that we allow individuals to decide whether they are boys or girls, and that we go along with that decision. If a boy feels more comfortable using a girl's name, then we should not notice his physical characteristics when he disrobes in the girls' locker room. He should be viewed as a victim. And the shocked and embarrassed girls sharing the locker facilities should just get over it. Some backers of this radical legislation have even suggested that the embarrassed girls should find another place to dress and undress.
"Open-minded" parents are determining that their preschool age children should live as members of the sex opposite of that of their birth. The federal government has instituted policies to allow federal workers to choose their bathroom facilities. And anybody that objects to any of this is labeled as hateful and extreme.
The public school students of California need protection, But the country needs our efforts to defend the basic right to distinguish between boys and girls. As we move into the second year of this battle, we need to be committed to standing up to the bullying, no matter what names they call us and how many arguments they throw at us in court.
Please commit to stand by me in this ongoing battle. And, if you can, please help us finance this battle. Your donations have sustained us for the past year, but the battle is costly.
One final thing: We need eyes and ears to tell us what is going on in our schools and public places. As our children go back to school this fall, please let us know if your school has given into the pressure to sexually integrate bathrooms and locker rooms.
AB 1266 Referendum