California Secretary of State Debra Bowen announced on Feb. 24 that the referendum to repeal AB1266, a state law giving students access to facilities and activities based on their gender identity, has failed.
According to a memo released by Bowen's office, the initiative finished approximately 17,000 votes short of the amount needed to appear on the November 2014 ballot.
Privacy For All Students, the advocacy group leading the effort, and its supporters collected almost 620,000 signatures, but the Secretary of State deemed only 487,484 valid.
In a post on privacyforallstudents.com, group leaders said, "After months of waiting, we now get to see why so many signatures were thrown out. Certainly some signers were not registered to vote or had moved without changing their address. But it is also certain that many of those signatures were rejected based on reasons that will not survive a legal challenge. This was not totally unexpected.
"While we prepare for the legal battle ahead to have invalid signatures deemed valid, we should not lose sight of what we are fighting for," the post continued. "We are told that gender identity is more important than gender reality. We are told that feelings trump anatomy. While so many of us want to be compassionate to those that feel that biology has betrayed them, we can't help but notice that we are living the modern equivalent of the Emperor's New Clothes."