EDITORIAL: Critics of transgender bill are not on the right track

Yet another ballot measure over an obscure state statute? It's possible, if opponents of a recently enacted law aimed at protecting transgender students can qualify a referendum for the November 2014 ballot.

Opponents of the law, including some of the same consultants and religious organizations that brought you Proposition 8 -- the ban on same-sex marriage later struck down by federal courts -- say they've submitted 620,000 signatures to the secretary of state's office on behalf of the proposed referendum. If it makes it to the ballot and is approved by voters, the measure would overturn Assembly Bill 1266, legislation by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano of San Francisco that was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown.

There's still a chance that the number of valid signatures will fall short of the 505,000 needed to qualify the referendum. If so, it would spare voters from getting into the weeds on a law that hasn't even been implemented yet and probably will have little or no negative impact.

AB 1266 makes California the first state to specify the rights of transgender K-12 students, ensuring that students have access to services that match their gender orientation. That means transgender students could choose between playing on boys or girls sports teams and could use the restrooms and locker rooms based on their gender identification.

Some religious groups object, claiming these rights infringe on the rights of other boys and girls who might feel uncomfortable with transgender students playing on their team, or sharing a bathroom or locker room.

To date, however, opponents have failed to demonstrate that the law would cause widespread harm. Moreover, opponents have refused to recognize that, without protections, transgender students can face harassment and lack of access to school programs.