California group seeks to allow voters last word on public bathroom bills

by Vanessa Garcia Rodriguez, |
In this Fall 2013 photo, Privacy for Students supporters sign petitions at Bayside Church of Roseville, California, in an effort to allow voters to cast their ballot on a bill requiring students to use school restroom, changing and shower facilities based on their biological sex. The sponsoring group has expanded its efforts and created Privacy for All in order to see the same protections extended to government buildings and private businesses. | FACEBOOK/Privacy for Students

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Christian Examiner) -- A California political action organization filed a measure with the state's attorney general April 17 to give voters the power to decide about privacy in public restrooms, allowing use of sex separated facilities based on the actual biological sex of the person and not a "feeling" about gender identity.

The Personal Privacy Protection Act was submitted by an organization called Privacy for All and could appear on the state's 2016 ballot if the group obtains the required 365,880 signatures, according to the right to privacy group's press release.

"We have great compassion for any person that is uncomfortable in traditional, sex separated facilities, but we also want to protect the privacy that most of us expect when we are in public bathrooms, showers and dressing areas" said Gina Gleason, a proponent of the initiative who signed the letter to Caifornia Attorney General Kamal Harris requesting the measure be given a title and summary as provided by law.

The proposed amendment does not directly mention transgender individuals, but requires anyone's use of restroom and like facilities in all government buildings be "in accordance with their biological sex."

The measure also allows private businesses to maintain sex separated facilities and grants them legal protection if they choose to require employees and patrons to use restroom facilities "in accordance with their biological sex."

Additionally, the measure permits individuals whose privacy was violated by a person with a different biological sex using the same facility to file civil claim for the violation. Finally, anyone who is unable to use the facility because of a violation of the law could also file a civil claim.

The measure states such violations could claim up to three times the actual damage with minimum damages no less than $4,000 plus attorneys fees.

Privacy for All is the same group which, so far, has been unsuccess in repealing legislation passed in 2013 (AB 1266, which specifically addresses public schools) that allowed transgender students to use bathrooms and locker rooms in line with their perceived sex identity even if it conflicted with their biological sex.

The California Referendum on AB 1266 has been held up in court due to state officials invalidating too many of the 620,000 signatures by voters who wished to see the issue on last year's November ballot.

Karen England, a spokesperson for Privacy for All said in a written statement the possibility existed for voters to be heard on both measures next year.

"California voters may have two chances to vote against co-ed bathrooms in 2016," England said. "We hope to wrap up the court battle over the AB 1266 referendum and place that on the ballot, but we also expect to have this new initiative before the voters at the same time."