California gender identity ballot measures would undercut state suit against school district
Civil liberties group warns Yolo County Library that it can't regulate "misgendering" by women's sports advocates. "Stop voting for these radical Democrats," Trump's former acting DNI urges California voters.
Critics and advocates of gender ideology are squaring off in California at the ballot box, courthouse and local library, with consequences that could shape the 2024 general election.
Protect Kids California (PKC) submitted three ballot initiatives Monday to Democratic Attorney General Rob Bonta, "requesting a title and summary" so the self-identified nonpartisan group can start collecting signatures to get them on the ballot.
PKC's measures would "protect the reproductive, sexual health and bodily integrity of children" from so-called gender affirming drugs and surgeries; segregate school bathrooms and locker rooms by sex and prevent biological males from playing girls' sports in grades 7-12; and require public schools to notify parents within three days when their children adopt a gender identity at odds with sex.
Portions of the measures are directly at odds with new litigation by Bonta's office against the Chino Valley Unified School District for approving a parental notification policy. Bonta accused the district of "forced outing" of transgender children.
Democratic state Sen. Scott Wiener echoed Bonta by calling the policy "dangerous & frankly, despicable." Weiner spearheaded legislation that ordered California women's prisons to accept male inmates who identify as women, now the subject of ongoing litigation by female inmates and previously a consultant report that found the law disfavored female inmates in practice.
Bonta's suit claims the Chino Valley policy violates the California constitution's equal protection and privacy rights, and the state education code, by "singling out transgender and gender nonconforming students" who seek to use different names and identities and facilities at odds with their biological sex.
PKC's frequently asked questions page anticipates such criticisms. "In essence, the child has already publicly 'outed' themselves" at school by declaring a different gender identity, it says.
"Stop voting for these radical Democrats," former President Donald Trump's acting Director of National Intelligence Ric Grenell, the first openly gay Cabinet member, wrote on X, formerly Twitter.
Now the leader of the conservative group Fix California, Grenell blamed Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom for the appointment of the "monster" Bonta, who "thinks the State ultimately owns your children." Grenell told Just the News he wasn't involved with the ballot initiatives.
More than a third of likely Democratic voters want Newsom to challenge President Biden in the 2024 primary, according to a Rasmussen survey released Monday.
The Assembly has yet to hold a committee hearing on a similar parental notification bill (AB 1314), illustrating "an out-of-touch legislature that refuses to engage in protecting parents or kids," PKC founder Jonathan Zachreson, a recently elected school board member who also founded Reopen California Schools, said in a press release.
The group cited June surveys by different pollsters to show Golden State voters would support them.
A Harvard-Harris poll found strong majorities of both Republican and Democratic voters oppose puberty blockers and surgery for minors as well as state laws that would let minors circumvent parents for such procedures.
Rasmussen polling shows similar bipartisan and independent support for schools notifying parents of gender identity at odds with sex, while a Gallup poll on sports participation by gender identity shows Republicans nearly united in opposition and Democrats evenly split.
One critic compared the initiatives to California's Proposition 8, a similarly popular ballot initiative that overturned the state Supreme Court's recognition of same-sex marriage in 2008.
While its passage was partly credited to strong support from black and Latino voters, who turned out in unusually high numbers to vote for Barack Obama as president, Prop 8 also accelerated opposing legal and legislative efforts across the country, culminating in the Supreme Court's 2015 ruling that found a constitutional right to same-sex marriage.
Gender identity and First Amendment rights collided in a northern California public library on Aug. 20 when staff shut down the "Forum on Fair and Safe Sports for Girls" by the local Moms for Liberty chapter.
Before the event, Yolo County Library regional manager Scott Love told organizers that because gender identity is protected by state law, they cannot refer to "transgender females" as males, according to video promoted by Zachreson. "If there's any misgendering" by organizers, "they will be asked to leave," Love said.
Lawyer Erin Friday of Our Duty, an international support network for parents of children with suspected rapid-onset gender dysphoria, later asked Love to provide the "library requirements that abrogate our First Amendment rights." Love again cited state law.
Love followed through on his warning after Friday violated his command. "You're going to get this place sued, dude," the person recording the scene said. Video shows Love eventually shut off the projector when Friday wouldn't leave the podium.
The Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression sent a legal warning letter to Love last week, citing a 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling — binding on California public institutions — that deemed a library meeting room a "public forum" that can't be regulated based on views or ideology.
FIRE also disputed claims that state law "regulates how people may refer to transgender individuals in a public forum" or that the library can "punish the speakers, rather than the hecklers, for disruptive conduct" under a policy Love invoked against Friday. Both would be unconstitutional, FIRE said.
Aaron Terr, director of public advocacy at FIRE, told Just the News it would "evaluate next steps" if the library doesn't respond by Sept. 7. The library did not answer queries to its web contact form and email address to which FIRE sent the letter.
The Yolo County sheriff's office evacuated the library and nearby school the day after the incident, when a TV station showed it an email from an unknown sender with a bomb threat and "some form of hate speech" against the library, a spokesperson told the Sacramento Bee without elaborating. The office believes a second bomb threat Monday is related, KCRA reported.
LGBTQ newspaper The Advocate blamed activists who circulated the videos, including women's sports crusader Riley Gaines and Libs of TikTok, for the "stochastic terrorism" against the library, referring to unpredictable attacks on alleged victims of public demonization.
The Moms for Liberty Yolo chapter said it was "deeply disheartened" by the "appalling" threats against the library in a statement to Just the News, but didn't answer whether it was considering legal options against the library.
"The response to speech that you disagree with is always more speech. Violence is never the appropriate response," it said. "Any news reporting that would imply our organizations are in any way associated with or responsible for these threats is wrong and maliciously inaccurate."
The Facts Inside Our Reporter's Notebook
- "requesting a title and summary"
- protect the reproductive, sexual health and bodily integrity of children
- segregate school bathrooms and locker rooms by sex
- require public schools to notify parents
- new litigation by Bonta's office
- "forced outing"
- "dangerous & frankly, despicable."
- ongoing litigation by female inmates
- consultant report
- Bonta's suit
- PKC's frequently asked questions page
- Ric Grenell
- conservative group Fix California
- Rasmussen survey
- AB 1314
- press release
- Harvard-Harris poll
- Rasmussen polling
- Gallup poll
- One critic compared
- strong support from black and Latino voters
- Supreme Court's 2015 ruling
- Forum on Fair and Safe Sports for Girls
- video promoted by Zachreson
- Our Duty
- "library requirements that abrogate our First Amendment rights."
- followed through on his warning
- Love eventually shut off the projector
- legal warning letter to Love
- 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling
- Sacramento Bee
- KCRA reported
- The Advocate