Several new laws in California aim to bolster LGBTQ+ protections

September 25, 2023

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) signed several bills into law over the weekend bolstering LGBTQ+ protections in that state.  

The new legislation includes more support for vulnerable youth, including timelines for cultural competency training for public school teachers and staff as well as the creation of a new advisory task force aimed at meeting the needs of LGBTQ+ students. 

The governor also signed legislation requiring that schools from first through 12th grade make available at least one gender-neutral bathroom by 2026.

Another law requires that families show that they can and are willing to meet the needs of children in foster care regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. 

That new laws come just days comes after Newsom vetoed a bill that would have required judges to consider whether a parent affirms their child’s gender identity when making custody and visitation decisions. The governor asserted that laws already exist requiring that courts consider health, safety and welfare when determining the best interests of a child in custody cases—including the parent’s affirmation of the child’s gender identity.

“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.

The laws bolstering LGBTQ+ protections in California come as Human Rights Watch notes that year-to-date as of this past spring, more than 520 anti-LGBTQ+ bills have been introduced in state legislatures across the country—a record number with more anti-LGBTQ+ bills introduced in state houses this year than in each of the five previous years. 

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