With just one day left to circulate petitions, organizers of an effort to repeal a new law requiring that California students learn about the historical contributions of gay and lesbian individuals have told supporters that they "would need a miracle to qualify this referendum."
The Pacific Justice Institute and an arm of Capitol Resource Institute have been leading an effort to overturn Senate Bill 48, which requires public school instruction to include the role and contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals, people with disabilities and members of different cultural groups. They face a Wednesday deadline for submitting to election officials the roughly 505,000 valid voter signatures needed to place a referendum of the law on the ballot.
Despite days of emails calling for a final push in the signature gathering campaign, referendum organizers told supporters in an early morning email that "it is doubtful we will get the number of signatures we need to qualify" the proposed referendum.
"The only possible scenario for snatching victory from the jaws of defeat is a 24 hour petition marathon," the email reads.
A follow-up email announced that they had received 5,000 additional signatures, declaring that "battle is not over quite yet."
Still, supporters of SB 48, which was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown earlier this year, celebrated the news as a sign the referendum will fail to qualify.
"The FAIR Education Act will simply ensure that California's students learn an honest, accurate, and inclusive account of history, but opponents of equality have grossly distorted the intent and the effect of the FAIR Education act in their quest to secure signatures for this referendum. Today's victory shows that their lies cannot stand up to our truth," Equality California Executive Director Roland Palencia said in a statement.