Cassidy Campbell, 16, attends the 2013 homecoming football game for Marina High School on Friday, Sept. 20, 2013 in Huntington Beach, Calif. Campbell was the first transgender homecoming queen for Marina High School.
Stuart Palley/The Orange County Register/AP

Landmark transgender equality law in jeopardy


A conservative group has gathered enough signatures in California to put the state’s newly-signed law protecting transgender students to a vote in 2014.

The group Privacy for all Students on Friday submitted 620,000 signatures—more than the 100,000 needed to get a referendum on the November ballotin an effort to repeal the law despite being approved by the California legislature. The signatures must then be reviewed and verified by each of California’s 58 counties before a referendum can be approved for 2014.

The law, signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in August, would prohibit discrimination against transgender students in public schools–making California the first in the nation to pass a statewide law on the issue. The law also allows transgender students to use public facilities and join gender-specific teams that best match their gender identity.

“No student can learn if they have to hide who they are at school or if they are singled out for unequal treatment,” State Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, the bill’s sponsor, told the Sacramento Bee back in May.

Ammiano, a former public school teacher who became the first in San Francisco to come out as gay while teaching, also worked alongside LGBT activist Harvey Milk in the ’70s to defeat an initiative that would ban gay people from teaching in California.

The effort to overturn the law is being led by political strategist Frank Schubert, who also led successful efforts to defeat same-sex marriage in California in 2008 with the passage of Proposition 8, as well as in Maine and North Carolina. Schubert was also the go-to man behind efforts to block marriage initiatives in Maryland, Washington, and Maine again in 2012.

Schubert, a California native who’s been called the “Karl Rove of the anti-gay movement,” is the founder of Mission Public Affairs, a consulting firm dedicated to fighting for conservative values in the debate over social issues. 

But Schubert has insisted he is not trying to be discriminatory. “It’s hurtful to know that many people think I dislike gays and lesbians and wish them harm,” Schubert told the New York Times last year.