1. Why can’t I sign the petition online or electronically? Why does it have to be in person?
Ballot initiatives are different from the average “petition” you see online. Whereas online petitions tend to be marketing tools, a legally-binding petition requires a “wet signature” (meaning not a copy) witnessed by a petition circulator, who will later have to attest to the validity of the signatures before a certified notary. For this reason, unfortunately, all signatures must be obtained in person with a circulator as a witness.
2. The boxes for signatures are very small. Can’t you make them bigger?
Unfortunately, the petition pages must follow a very specific legal format. We have made the spaces for signatures as wide as we are able! We advise circulators to simply encourage signers to write as small and legibly as they are able to.
3. I tried to print the petition page and my printer cut it off! How do I fix it?
Some have had this issue! First, we recommend trying to adjust the margins of the page before attempting to print again. If that doesn’t work, we recommend printing at Staples, Office Depot, or another office supply chain. Most will either allow you to print from a thumb drive or will provide an email address where you can send the file to have it printed for pick-up.
4. Doesn’t Illinois already have laws that require parents to consent to abortion or gender treatments?
In 2020, the Illinois State Board of Education issued non-regulatory guidance on Supporting Transgender, Nonbinary, and Gender Nonconforming Students. In this document, under a section labeled Parent/Guardian Involvement, the state specifies that “schools are not required to seek parental consent to support transgender, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming students.” More recently, as part of a lawsuit filed by a father of a Villa Park high school student, the school district claimed that state law “clearly demonstrates that when parents are unsupportive of their children’s mental health and gender identity, they are not the best person to make decisions regarding the same by limiting the mental health treatment parents can impose on their gay and transgender children.” These simply serve as two examples of how the state of Illinois continues to overreach when given the opportunity to intervene in parent-child relationships.
Illinois no longer requires parental consent for hormonal birth control and Illinois’ parental notification of abortion law was repealed in 2021. And while it’s true that hormone blockers and replacement treatments presently require parental consent, there have been bills introduced in 19 states in the past two years – including here in Illinois – which aim to repeal these requirements. Illinois tends to be an early adopter of this type of legislation because of the makeup of our state legislature. We have no doubt that this is coming down the pike for us.
Additionally, note that the question proposed for the ballot includes language around counseling and therapy – non-medical gender conversations that parents of minor children should have the opportunity to be a part of. As it stands right now, Planned Parenthood, a school counselor, or even a teacher can discuss gender identification and transitioning without parental consent. That’s a violation of the parent-child relationship, which is the larger issue we’re trying to address.
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