California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) on Thursday signed into law a bill designating his state as a sanctuary for gender-dysphoric children and teens seeking so-called "gender-affirming care."
Senate Bill 107, introduced by left-wing state Sen. Scott Wiener (D), offers a wide range of legal protections for transgender youths and their parents who come to California seeking hormone prescriptions or sex-reassignment surgeries that have been made illegal in other states.
In a signing statement, Newsom called policies restricting gender transition for minors hateful and accused conservative states of attempting to "demonize" transgender youths.
“In California we believe in equality and acceptance. We believe that no one should be prosecuted or persecuted for getting the care they need — including gender-affirming care,” Newsom said. “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.”
The new law instructs California courts and attorneys to refuse to comply with out-of-state subpoenas, warrants, and child custody orders issued for individual minors or families seeking sex-change surgeries or cross-sex hormones.
The legislation also "prohibits the arrest or recognition of any demand for extradition of an individual that criminalizes allowing a person to receive or provide gender-affirming health care where that conduct would not be unlawful under California’s law," according to Wiener's press office. An out-of-state criminal arrest warrant for someone who violated another state's laws against providing gender transition services to children will be given "the lowest priority for law enforcement in California."
Wiener introduced the bill in response to at least 20 Republican-led states that have introduced legislation that would ban gender transition services for minors and penalize parents and health care providers who try to transition children.
Many of these attempts by Republican legislators to restrict gender transition for minors have been stalled in courts. In August, a federal appeals court blocked Arkansas from enforcing its ban on "gender-affirming care" for minors.
The California transgender sanctuary law may face similar legal challenges, according to the Los Angeles Times. Federal laws that require states to recognize out-of-state laws when residents travel could make the sanctuary law unconstitutional.
“We may have limits under the U.S. Constitution, but we are going to go right up to the edge of what we’re able to do to protect them and say, ‘Unless we are absolutely forced to send you back, we are not going to send you back,’” Wiener told the L.A. Times.
“We can’t solve everything in one bill. We’re making sure that people who are being criminalized have a place to go,” he added. “This bill is about giving people refuge.”
Conservative groups slammed the new law. The California Family Council said it encourages "medical child abuse."
"SB 107 endangers every young person in the nation who experiences gender dysphoria," CFC President Jonathan Keller said in a statement. "By signing this extreme bill, Gavin Newsom is telling all parents across the country that he knows what’s best for their children. Mothers and fathers in every state should demand their elected representatives push back against this unconstitutional assault on parental rights. Governors and legislators must defend their citizens from this out-of-control government in Sacramento.”