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RivCo-based nonprofit sues California over constitutionality of transgender sanctuary law

California State Capitol building in Sacramento
Jeff Turner / CC BY 2.0
California State Capitol building in Sacramento

A Murrieta-based nonprofit filed a lawsuit today challenging the constitutional validity of California's so-called "transgender sanctuary law," which permits children to come into the state for gender-altering surgeries despite parental opposition or legal actions filed in other states to bar the procedures.

"Senate Bill 107 is a dangerous piece of legislation that strips the right of parents to direct the care and upbringing of their child," Advocates for Faith & Freedom attorney Mariah Gondeiro, representing the nonprofit Our Watch, said in a statement. "Parents, not the government, are best suited to decide whether their child should undergo life-altering drugs and surgeries that will impair their ability to become a parent later in life."  

Tim Thompson, president of Our Watch and pastor at 412 Church Temecula Valley, said that SB 107, which Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law in September, flies in the face of parental rights, which he deemed sacrosanct, and therefore "is a dangerous, irresponsible law."

The bill, authored by Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, was intended to set California apart from "other states' laws that punish people for providing or receiving gender-affirming healthcare."

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The legislation specifically prohibits courts in California from honoring subpoenas, extradition orders or other requests intended to prevent a minor from proceeding with a surgery or treatment that "may include, but is not limited to, interventions to suppress the development of endogenous secondary sex characteristics, or to align the patient's appearance or physical body with the patient's gender identity."

The law exempts the child from the "personal jurisdiction" of a parent when the youth decides to go ahead with a surgery or mental health counseling related to transgenderism. However, the child must have established residency in California, or at least be with "a person acting as a parent" who has a "significant connection with this state'' before the sanctuary component of the legislation can take effect.

The bill additionally prohibits local law enforcement agencies from responding to out-of-state or international legal actions aimed at preventing a minor from going ahead with a surgery, and it allows for California courts to assume "temporary emergency jurisdiction if the child is present and ... has been unable to obtain gender-affirming healthcare."  

It also prohibits insurance companies and health care providers from sharing any information with individuals or entities in other states involved in actions to quash the medical procedures sought by the child.   

Our Watch's lawsuit alleges that SB 107 violates the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, as well as the Full Faith & Credit Clause in Article Four, because these provisions historically affirm the rights of states to procure records, documents -- and people, under extradition proceedings -- from other states.  

"As someone who has been harmed by these policies, it is imperative that we challenge SB 107 because it will allow vulnerable children from other states to undergo life-altering and harmful surgeries and drugs,'' said Chloe Cole, a plaintiff in the suit.

In its opposition to the legislation, the California Family Council wrote that most children, due to lack of maturity, are not appropriately equipped to make life-altering decisions, including regarding transitional surgery.  

"The vast majority of minors with gender dysphoria desist by adulthood if they are not transitioned and given puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones,'' the CFC said. ``Because of this, many doctors and medical professionals refuse to provide transitioning drugs and surgeries, especially on minors, knowing the long-term side effects and the lack of hard scientific evidence regarding the efficacy of `gender affirming' treatments."  

Equality California, a supporter of the bill, wrote that "other states are attempting to classify the provision of gender-affirming healthcare as a crime warranting prison time and are threatening parents with criminal penalties if they attempt to travel to another state in order to secure ... gender-affirming care for their child."  

The organization said SB 107 moved "the needle toward a California that is healthy, just and fully equal for all LGBTQ+ people."   

No hearing date has been set yet on Our Watch's suit, which was filed in Riverside County Superior Court.

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Article Topic Follows: California

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