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Gavin Newsom signs law making California a sanctuary for trans kids & their families

Then Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and his family at San Francisco Pride in 2013
Then Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and his family at San Francisco Pride in 2013Photo: Shutterstock

On Thursday, California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) signed a bill protecting transgender youth and their families fleeing prosecution from states that criminalize gender-affirming care.

“In California we believe in equality and acceptance,” Newsom said in a signing statement. “We believe that no one should be prosecuted or persecuted for getting the care they need — including gender-affirming care. Parents know what’s best for their kids, and they should be able to make decisions around the health of their children without fear. We must take a stand for parental choice.”

Laws attempting to ban medical care for transgender minors “demonize” the transgender community and are an act of hate, Newsom said.

S.B. 107, authored by out state Sen. Scott Wiener (D), prohibits courts and attorneys in California from enforcing subpoenas requested by other states pursuing criminal prosecution of families seeking gender-affirming care for minors in California.

The new law also bans healthcare providers from releasing medical information to out-of-state authorities. Arrest warrants for violating out-of-state laws related to gender-affirming care are to be given “the lowest law enforcement priority.”

Over 20 U.S. states have considered laws banning gender-affirming care for minors, while subjecting parents and healthcare professionals to criminal prosecution for seeking it. Several bans did pass but have been tied up in federal courts. In August, a federal appeals court in Arkansas blocked that state’s prohibition.

“We don’t know what’s going to play out in appeal, or if states will find other kinds of laws they can get through to courts,” Wiener said in an interview with the LA Times before the bill’s passage. “It would be absolute negligence for us to say we’re not going to do anything until one of these laws gets upheld and someone gets put in prison.”

California won’t act as “an arm of law enforcement of the states of Texas or Alabama,” Weiner added.

The bill was opposed by conservative groups, including the California Family Council, which said S.B. 107 promoted “medical child abuse.”

Newsom’s Republican opponent for governor, state Sen. Brian Dahle, claimed minor children “really don’t know what their identity is,” and that the bill would abrogate parental rights.

“If one parent is for it and the other is against it, the state now will be in the middle of that decision,” Dahle said on the state senate floor. “This bill is basically putting the state in your home.”

Weiner said: “We’re making sure that people who are being criminalized have a place to go. This bill is about giving people refuge.”

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