Group sues California over new law protecting transgender students

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A sign circulated by the right-wing Privacy for All Students campaign.

Groups trying to overturn a new California law allowing transgender students to choose public school restrooms and sports teams that correspond with their expressed gender filed a lawsuit claiming state officials are unfairly refusing to count signatures seeking a referendum.

Sacramento-based Privacy For All Students, a coalition of right-wing groups, filed the lawsuit against the secretary of state and two counties.

It says a courier delivered signatures collected in Tulare ahead of a deadline of Sunday, Nov. 10, but offices were closed early before the three-day Veterans Day weekend. In Mono County, a courier dropped the signatures in a county mail slot a day before the deadline, but workers did not return to their jobs  until the deadline had passed, according to the plaintiffs.

The plaintiffs say the secretary of state’s office is refusing to validate the signatures from the two counties.

The secretary of state’s office did not immediately return phone calls seeking comment.

Opponents of the law that goes into effect on Jan. 1 said they have collected enough signatures for an initiative that would repeal it. Counties, however, were still reviewing the signatures.

The state previously said an early random sampling from counties via the secretary of state’s office found only 77 percent of the signatures qualifying.

The coalition submitted 620,000 signatures to get the initiative on the November 2014 ballot, said Frank Schubert, political strategist handling the signature gathering effort.

To qualify, at least 505,000 valid signatures of registered voters must be verified through a random sampling. After that, it is likely the state would order a full review before the measure could be place on a ballot.