The latest state battleground for antitransgender politics is California, where so-called privacy advocates have submitted language for a 2016 ballot initiative regulating restroom use by transgender people, titled the Personal Privacy Protection Act.
The Privacy for All Students group today said it has provided California election officials with the necessary language for this initiative, which would require almost 366,000 petition signatures to appear on the 2016 ballot.
According to a statement circulated by the Christian Newswire, the Personal Privacy Protection Act would require that individuals "use facilities in accordance with their biological sex in all government buildings." It would not require private businesses to maintain sex-separated facilities but would offer legal cover to these businesses if they do require employees and patrons to "use facilities in accordance with their biological sex."
“We have great compassion for any person that is uncomfortable in traditional, sex-separated facilities,” said Gina Gleason, a proponent of the initiative, in a statement contained within the news release. “But we also want to protect the privacy that most of us expect when we are in public bathrooms, showers, and dressing areas.”
Privacy for All Students is an antitransgender coalition that last year fell 17,000 signatures short in an effort to put a measure on the ballot that would have let voters repeal the state’s 2014 transgender rights law, the Student Success and Opportunity Act, which provides legal protections for trans students.
There is no clear view of how much support such the new ballot initiative would attract in California, where in 2008 voters approved Proposition 8, banning same-sex marriage (that vote was ultimately tossed out by a federal judge in 2010 as unconstitutional, a decision upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2013. But it’s hardly the only antitransgender legislation under consideration in the nation. Arizona, Florida, Kentucky, Texas and other states have considered or are considering enacting these so-called bathroom bills.
They’re accumulating as the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to hear arguments next week on marriage equality, and advocates for LGBT rights push for new nondiscrimination laws in at least 10 states. The measures are aimed at protecting people from being fired, denied housing, or turned away from a business because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. One California bill would prohibit the state from doing business with companies that deny transgender workers benefits like appropriate health care coverage.
Another in Florida is called the Florida Competitive Workforce Act and is built around the argument that state policies need to be as inclusive as possible to attract top workers and businesses. Tourism empires such as the Walt Disney World Resort and the Marriott hotel chain have formed a coalition to support that measure.