US: Chairman of Jelly Belly donated $5,000 for California to repeal trans bathroom rights law

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The chairman of The Jelly Belly Candy Company has donated $5,000 (£3,091) to a campaign attempting to repeal an act allowing transgender students equal access to school facilities such as locker rooms and bathrooms.

The bill, known as the School Success and Opportunity Act, was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown in August, and will take effect from 1 January.

The law is first of its kind in the United States and is the only law currently that specifically calls for equal access to all students regardless of their gender identity.

Those who supported the bill, including Governor Brown, believe the new legislation shall help reduce bullying in California’s state schools. Trans activists believe the law can reduce discrimination and allow for much better access to transgender students.

However, some parents and conservative groups have opposed the measure claiming that it could disrupt teaching in the classroom and lead to ‘confusion’ for pupils attending schools.

Among those attempting to repeal the new law is Herman Rowland Sr, who is the chair of the California-based Jelly Belly Candy Company.

Mr Rowland donated his money to the Privacy for All Students initiative campaign, which seeks to gather 500,000 signatures so that it can qualify for a ballot measure allowing it to put the act on hold.

The initiative campaign is being headed by Frank Schubert of the anti-gay lobby, National Organisation for Marriage.

In August, a Republican member of the California State Assembly announced that at least one of his sons would be pulled from public school following the passing of the new law.

Tim Donnelly, a possible candidate for the 2014 California Governor election, wrote: “I do not believe that by allowing individuals of opposite sex to use the same restrooms makes any sense at all, and I think the vast majority of Californians deeply oppose this.”