California Judge Tentatively Sides with Attorney General in Dispute Over Transgender Youth Ballot Measure Title

California judge sides with AG in dispute over ballot measure title that would require schools to notify parents if child changes gender identity. Measure also aims to ban transgender girls from women's sports and restrict gender-affirming surgeries.

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Salman Khan
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California Judge Tentatively Sides with Attorney General in Dispute Over Transgender Youth Ballot Measure Title

California Judge Tentatively Sides with Attorney General in Dispute Over Transgender Youth Ballot Measure Title

A California judge has tentatively sided with state Attorney General Rob Bonta in a dispute over the title of a proposed ballot measure that would require school staff to notify parents if their child asks to change gender identification at schools. The group backing the measure sued Bonta, arguing that the language he released for the measure, titled the "Restrict Rights of Transgender Youth" initiative, was biased and misleading.

The judge indicated he may deny the group's request to change the title to the "Protect Kids of California Act" and update the summary, saying Bonta's description of the proposal as eliminating or restricting students' statutory rights regarding their gender identity is accurate. "Bonta's description of the proposal is accurate," the judge stated in his tentative ruling.

The proposed measure would also ban transgender girls in grades 7 through college from participating in girls' and women's sports, and bar gender-affirming surgeries for minors, with some exceptions. Backers of the measure argue the title and summary released by Bonta are hindering their ability to gather enough signatures to get the measure on the ballot, and they want the secretary of state to extend their deadline by 180 days.

Why this matters: The case highlights the impact that ballot measure summary language released by the attorney general can have on how people vote. California judges can step in if they rule the attorney general is not using impartial language for ballot measures.

The debate centered on whether the word "restrict" was a fair representation of the measure's impact on transgender youth. The judge is expected to issue a final decision on the matter after hearing arguments from both sides. The proposed ballot measure has so far received at least a quarter of the more than 500,000 signatures it needs by May 28 to end up on the ballot in November.

Key Takeaways

  • CA judge tentatively sides with AG Bonta in dispute over ballot measure title
  • Measure would require schools to notify parents if child changes gender identity
  • Measure would ban transgender girls from girls'/women's sports, bar gender-affirming surgeries
  • Backers argue Bonta's title "Restrict Rights of Transgender Youth" is biased and misleading
  • Judge says Bonta's description of the proposal as accurate, may deny title change