In a surprise decision, California Governor Gavin Newsom vetoed AB 957 last Friday, a bill that would have required judges to equate “affirmation of child gender transition” directly with a child’s “health, safety, and welfare” when determining custody or visitation rights. Consequently, parents who would not affirm the chosen gender identity of their child (of any age) would risk having their child taken from them.
But then the next day, Newsom announced his signature on eight pro-LGTBQ+ bills. One required all public school teachers to receive annual training on how to affirm students’ LGBTQ+ identities and sexual orientations (AB 5). The other prohibited those with biblical beliefs about gender and sexuality from being foster parents (SB 407).
“We are extremely pleased the governor rejected legislation to strip custody of children from parents who believe biology, not feelings determines the sex of their child,” said Greg Burt, Vice President of the California Family Council. “But no one should think Newsom has changed his desire to transform the country’s beliefs in a pro-LGBTQ+ direction using regulations, forced indoctrination, and religious discrimination.”
AB 957 author Assemblywoman Lori Wilson, D-Suisun City, was very upset over Newsom’s decision to reject her bill. “I am extremely disappointed,” Wilson wrote. “I’ve been disheartened over the last few years as I watched the rising hate and heard the vitriol towards the trans community. My intent with this bill was to give them a voice, particularly in the family court system when a non-affirming parent could have a detrimental impact on the mental health and well-being of a child.”
The bill’s co-author, Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) called Newsom’s veto a mistake. “This veto is a tragedy for trans kids here & around the country. These kids are living in fear, with right-wing politicians working to out them, deny them health care, ban them from sports & restrooms & erase their humanity,” Wiener wrote. But the senator was all smiles the next day when the governor signed SB 407. “@GavinNewsom signed our legislation to protect LGBTQ foster youth by ensuring they aren’t placed in hostile homes,” he wrote on X.
“SB 407 enhances screening of foster homes to ensure these kids get the support they need.”
In his AB 957 veto letter, Newsom said that he is committed to “advancing the rights of transgender Californians,” but he “urged caution when the Executive and legislative branches of the state government attempt to dictate… legal standards for the Judicial branch.” The letter concluded by stating courts already consider the “parent’s affirmation of the child’s gender identity,” when determining what is in the best interests of the child, implying that judges are already removing children from the custody of parents who don’t affirm trans-identities in their children. This is true as evidenced by a story California Family Council covered last year regarding Ted Hudacko, a father who lost custody of one of his sons because he did not agree with his medical transitioning. (Read more here)
Here is a list of the eight Pro-LGBTQ+ bills Newsom signed last Saturday:
- AB 5 by Assemblymember Rick Chavez Zbur (D-Los Angeles) – Train Teachers to Profile Non-LGBTQ+ Affirming Parents: This bill requires public school teachers to receive annual training on how to affirm all LGBTQ+ identities and sexual behavior, as well as train teachers on how to identify parents who aren’t LGBTQ+ affirming.
- AB 223 by Assemblymember Christopher Ward (D-San Diego) – Hiding Change of Gender and Sex Identifier. This bill enables any petition for a change of gender and sex identifier to hide this information under seal if filed by a person under 18 years of age.
- AB 760 by Assemblymember Lori Wilson (D-Fairfield) – Name and Gender Changes on College Documents: This bill requires public colleges to enable students, staff, and faculty to easily change their gender designation and name on any official school records.
- AB 783 by Assemblymember Philip Ting (D-San Francisco) – Notice Regarding All-Gender Bathrooms: This bill requires cities, counties, and cities and counties to notify applicants for a business license or permit in writing of the requirement that single-user toilet facilities must be identified as all-gender toilet facilities.
- SB 372 by Senator Caroline Menjivar (D-San Fernando Valley/Burbank) – Name and Gender Changing: This bill requires a licensing entity within the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) to update licensee records if it receives government-issued documentation demonstrating that the individual’s legal name or gender has changed.
- SB 407 by Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) – Requires Foster Parents to be LGBTQ+ Affirming: This bill requires all Foster Care Families to be affirming of all LGBTQ+ gender and sexual orientations, and medical transitioning treatments whether they have LGBTQ-identified foster kids or not. There are no exemptions for religious belief systems that teach gender is binary and based on biology, or that hold to biblical views of sexuality.
- SB 760 by Senator Josh Newman (D-Fullerton) – All-Gender Bathrooms Forced onto Every School Campus: This bill requires K-12 public schools to have at least one gender-neutral bathroom. Each school district will decide if the bathrooms are single-stall or multi-stall.
- SB 857 by Senator John Laird (D-Santa Cruz) – Advisory Task Force: LGBTQ+ Pupil Needs: This bill requires the State Superintendent of Public Instruction to convene an advisory task force to identify the statewide needs of LGBTQ+ pupils and report its findings to the Legislature, the SPI, and the Governor.