SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA — Governor Gavin Newsom has been critical of laws in other states, such as Alabama and Texas, that restrict transgender medical care. But now, California's legislature has sent him a new bill that would turn California into a sanctuary for youth and teens seeking gender-affirming medical treatment.
The bill, designed to block criminal or civil legal action from other states where the procedures or treatment are restricted, also prohibits medical providers from releasing information about gender-affirming treatment in any lawsuit filed in another state.
JURISDICTION OVER CUSTODY
Under the law, California family courts have the authority to claim jurisdiction over custody hearings if the child is in California undergoing treatment. The bill would also give family courts the power to take "temporary emergency jurisdiction" of children in the state to receive gender-affirming care – including mental health care, drugs, or surgery.
The courts would be instructed to ignore any claim from parents or those with legal custody, invalidating any legal standing in family court. The bill does not specify the duration of "temporary" custody.
"Our trans state of refuge bill is on its way to the Governor after just receiving final Senate approval! SB 107 sends a crystal clear message to the nation that no matter what vile anti-LGBTQ hate laws right-wing politicians think of, California will stand with our community,” Senator Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, tweeted after the bill passed.
RESTRICTS LAW ENFORCEMENT
It further restricts state and local law enforcement from making any arrests or extradition of individuals in violation of other state's laws regarding the treatment – effectively declaring those warrants as the lowest possible priority.
The bill, likely to be challenged in court, is co-sponsored by Equality California, the largest LGBT advocacy group in the country. “While attacks on the transgender community are not new, we are experiencing alarmingly blatant attempts to use legislation, policy, and political rhetoric to restrict or eliminate the autonomy, freedom, and existence of transgender people across the country,” the group said in a statement.
“BRAZEN ASSAULT ON PARENTS’ RIGHTS”
Multiple organizations, including the California Research Council, oppose the bill. “Despite what the bill author says, there is no universal agreement within the medical community regarding the best way to provide healthcare to transgender-identified individuals,” the council said in a statement.
“SB 107 may be the most brazen assault on fundamental parental rights in the history of this state,” said Matthew McReynolds, a senior attorney with the Pacific Justice Institute, in his letter of opposition. “This is not a game, a spoof, or a joke. Families who thought they had escaped California will not be safe if this bill is enacted. It is time for citizens to call their legislators en masse to let them know they will be swept out of office this November if this bill passes,” he said.
Newsom has until September 30 to veto or sign the legislation.