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Gov. Newsom signs new LGBTQ+ protections after controversial veto

San,Francisco,,Ca,-,April,26,,2022:,California,Governor,Gavin, California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D)
California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) Photo: Shutterstock

Just a day after vetoing a measure that sought to protect trans and gender-fluid kids in child custody disputes, California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) signed several bills on Saturday focused on supporting LGBTQ+ youth.

One of the four bills signed requires foster families to demonstrate their willingness to meet the needs of potential foster children regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, a requirement similar to one demanded of parents in child custody disputes that Newsom vetoed on Friday.

Two other new laws signed by Newsom include one creating an advisory taskforce to determine the needs of LGBTQ+ students, which provides help to advance supportive initiatives, and another law that sets timelines for required cultural competency training for public school teachers and staff.

A fourth measure requires all California schools serving first through 12th grade to have at least one gender-neutral bathroom available for students by 2026.

“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,” Newsom said in a statement. “These measures will help protect vulnerable youth, promote acceptance, and create more supportive environments in our schools and communities.”

In a statement accompanying the veto of the child custody measure, introduced by State Assembly Member Lori Wilson (D), Newsom said existing laws already require courts to consider health, safety, and welfare when determining the best interests of a child, including the parent’s affirmation of the child’s gender identity.

State Sen. Scott Wiener (D-SF) disagreed.

“Our job as legislators is to set clear standards for judges to apply and that’s what we did here,” said Wiener, a co-author of the California Senate version of the bill. He called the veto a “tragedy.”

That recently signed legislation addressing LGBTQ+ needs in schools was inspired by the Chino Valley Unified School District in Southern California. The district instituted a policy this summer that required teachers and school staff to report children to parents when they change pronouns or use a bathroom that doesn’t align with the gender listed on their birth certificates. California attorney general Rob Bonta sued the school district over the discriminatory policy and a judge put the policy on hold.

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