Uncover the Law Sparking Debate Among LGBTQ+ Supporters
By Dolores Quintana
California Governor Gavin Newsom signed several bills on Saturday aimed at enhancing the state’s protections for LGBTQ+ individuals, following a controversial veto that had drawn criticism from advocates as reported by CBS Los Angeles.
Among the newly signed laws are measures focusing on support for LGBTQ+ youth. One law establishes timelines for mandatory cultural competency training for public school teachers and staff, while another forms an advisory task force responsible for assessing the needs of LGBTQ+ students and promoting supportive initiatives. A third law mandates that families demonstrate their ability and willingness to meet the needs of a child in foster care regardless of the child’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
Governor Newsom stated, “California is proud to have some of the most robust laws in the nation when it comes to protecting and supporting our LGBTQ+ community, and we’re committed to the ongoing work to create safer, more inclusive spaces for all Californians. These measures will help protect vulnerable youth, promote acceptance, and create more supportive environments in our schools and communities.”
Additionally, Newsom signed a law that requires schools serving grades one through twelve to have at least one gender-neutral bathroom available for students by 2026.
The genesis of this law was a policy implemented by a Southern California school district, which mandated notifying parents when their children changed their pronouns or used a bathroom that did not align with the gender listed on official paperwork. A judge halted this policy following a lawsuit by California Attorney General Rob Bonta against the Chino Valley Unified School District. The legal proceedings are ongoing.
Governor Newsom’s bill signings came on the heels of a veto on Friday regarding a bill that would have compelled judges to consider whether a parent affirms their child’s gender identity when making custody and visitation decisions.
Assemblymember Lori Wilson, a Democrat who introduced the bill and whose adult son came out as transgender during adolescence, was among the LGBTQ+ advocates who criticized Newsom’s decision.
Newsom argued that existing laws already require courts to weigh health, safety, and welfare factors when determining the best interests of a child in custody cases, including a parent’s affirmation of the child’s gender identity.