After angering LGBTQ advocates by vetoing a bill involving transgender children in custody disputes, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a raft of bills this weekend that aim to protect LGBTQ rights, both inside and outside schools.
Newsom vetoed AB 957, a bill by Assemblywoman Lori D. Wilson, D–Suisun City, that would require courts to take into account a parent’s affirmation of a child’s gender identity or gender expression as one factor in any custody dispute. Newsom wrote that he was vetoing the bill because he was loathe for the executive and legislative branches of state to “attempt to dictate — in prescriptive terms that single out one characteristic — legal standards for the judicial branch to apply.”
He wrote that the court, under existing law, is already required to consider a child’s health, safety and welfare when determining a child’s best interests, and this includes the parent’s affirmation of a child’s gender identity.
But the California Legislative LGBTQ Caucus said in a statement the veto was a “missed opportunity to remind the nation that California is a safe haven for transgender and nonbinary children.”
Following the veto, Newsom signed several bills that were a priority for the caucus and other LGBTQ advocates.
“These measures will help protect vulnerable youth, promote acceptance, and create more supportive environments in our schools and communities,” wrote Newsom, in a statement.
These bills include:
- AB 5 is known as the Safe and Supportive Schools Act, and it sets deadlines for school teachers and staff to undergo LGBTQ cultural competency training. It was written by Assemblymember Rick Chavez Zbur, D-Los Angeles.
- SB 857 requires the state to set up an advisory task force to identify and address the needs of LGBTQ students. It was written by Senator John Laird, D-Santa Cruz.
- SB 760, by Senator Josh Newman, D-Fullerton, requires public schools to have at least one all-gender bathroom.
- AB 223, by Assemblymember Christopher Ward, D-San Diego, protects the confidentiality of minors’ court petition to change their gender.
- AB 760 requires the CSU and UC system to affirm the name and gender of students, staff and faculty. It would bar the system from charging fees to update or reissue records. The bill was written by Assemblymember Lori Wilson, D-Fairfield.
- SB 407, written by Senator Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, requires foster care families to “demonstrate an ability and willingness to meet the needs of a child, regardless of the child’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.”