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Parents sue California for “misleading” title on transgender ballot initiative

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(The Center Square) – A parents’ rights group is suing California’s attorney general over what they claim is a politically-charged labeling of their ballot initiative.

Parent activist group Protect Kids California filed a lawsuit against California Attorney General Rob Bonta for his title and description of the group’s ballot initiative requiring schools to notify parents if children request to be treated as a different gender, blocking transgender females from participating in female sports, and mandating that students participate in activities and use school facilities consistent with their birth genders.

“Regardless of the perspective or content of a ballot initiative, Californians are owed a neutral title and summary of that initiative as part of their core political speech,” said Emily Rae, senior counsel at the Liberty Justice Center, which co-filed the lawsuit against Bonta. “Ultimately, Rob Bonta owes it to Californians to uphold his duty as Attorney General—without injecting bias or prejudice into the matter.”

PKC’s ballot initiative is at the forefront of the ongoing wave of statewide parental concerns regarding transgender policy in education and sports. In the initial rollout of their initiative, PKC cited Rasmussen polling finding 68% of California voters, including 65% of Democrats, support schools notifying parents if their child identifies or requests to be identified or treated as a gender different from their biological sex. A Gallup poll found 93% of Republicans, 67% of independents, and 48% of Democrats believe transgender athletes should be able to only play on teams that match their birth gender. The group also noted a Harvard/Harris poll found the same percentage of voters believe puberty blockers should not be allowed for minors.

“Attorney General Bonta has repeatedly made his position clear—he is against the entire purpose of Protect Kids California’s initiative. They did not stand a chance in receiving an impartial title and summary. Moreover, Bonta has an insurmountable conflict of interest given that he is a plaintiff, a defendant, and an amicus in multiple lawsuits dealing with related issues,” said Erin Friday, Esq, a member of PKC’s executive team.

School districts across California have adopted measures to require parental notification of gender changes, spurring a number of lawsuits. Bonta has led the charge against these new school board ordinances, lending public support through his office and filing amicus briefs in cases against school boards.

According to the California Secretary of State, this initiative would each need to collect 546,651 signatures to be on the November 2024 ballot.

Meanwhile, Public Policy Institute of California polling found 70% of likely California voters support the Equality Act, a 2021 national bill that would have banned discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity in areas including public accommodations and facilities, education, federal funding, employment, housing, credit, and the jury system. If passed, the federal Equality Act would have superseded any state or local statute on transgender issues.