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California’s AG accused of giving inaccurate title to ballot measure

California Attorney General Rob Bonta at a press conference on parental notification Associated Press/Photo by Marcio Jose Sanchez

California’s AG accused of giving inaccurate title to ballot measure

A trial pitting Protect Kids California, a group that advocates for parental rights in schools, against California Attorney General Rob Bonta kicked off on Friday. Protect Kids California, represented by the Liberty Justice Center, alleges Bonta failed to fulfill his duty by giving a biased and inaccurate title to a ballot measure in favor of broadened parental rights. If passed, the Protect Kids of California Act of 2024 would require schools to inform parents if and when a child asks to adopt an identity that does not correspond with his or her biological sex. Bonta renamed the measure the Restrict Rights of Transgender Youth Initiative. Government officials can’t use their power to censor opinions they disagree with, Liberty Justice Center Senior Counsel Emily Rae said. Bonta has not publicly commented on the current litigation but has previously described parental notification policies as destructive, discriminatory, and dangerous.

How can parental notification be dangerous? Bonta previously claimed mandatory notification forces students to non-consensually “out” themselves to parents, risking their mental and emotional well-being. Such policies discriminate against “gender non-conforming students” and California’s Equal Protection Clause, he argued. However, proponents of parental notification maintain that parents play a fundamental role in a child’s health and safety and should be notified immediately of any mental health challenges.

What is the group’s desired outcome? The lawsuit requests that Bonta rescind the new title and summary of the initiative and provide neutral replacements for each. Protect Kids California has also requested a longer time frame for collecting signatures.

Dig deeper: Read Lauren Canterberry’s report on a California judge upholding a parental notification law.

Christina Grube

Christina Grube is a graduate of the World Journalism Institute.

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