California Democrat Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday signed a bill aimed at offering refuge to transgender youths and their families.
Newsom signed Senate Bill 107, which provides safeguards meant to block out-of-state attempts to penalize families that come to California seeking medical treatment for transgender children and teens.
The new law also covers trans youths and families who move to the state to avoid consequences for having sought that treatment elsewhere.
California previously labeled itself a "sanctuary state" for those seeking abortions.
"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, the Los Angeles Times reported.
"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."
Republican state Sen. Brian Dahle, who's running against Newsom, said children "really don't know what their [identity] is," and added the legislation would insert the state into family custody battles.
"If one parent is for it and the other is against it, the state now will be in the middle of that decision," Dahle said on the Senate floor before voting against the measure, the Times reported. "This bill is basically putting the state in your home."
The bill, introduced by state Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, prohibits California courts and attorneys from enforcing subpoenas requested by other states about gender-affirming care for minors, and healthcare providers from releasing medical information.
The new law also declares that any potential out-of-state arrest warrants for violating laws related to such care will be given "the lowest law enforcement priority."
"While small-minded men like [Govs.] Greg [Abbott] and Ron DeSantis attack trans children and their families, Governor Newsom ensures that they are protected and receive the necessary life-saving health care they need, SB 107 officially makes California a state of refuge for trans kids and their families," Equality California Executive Director Tony Hoang said.
More than 20 Republican-led states have introduced legislation to outlaw gender-affirming medical care for young people, and to penalize parents and healthcare providers who allow it, the Times said.
The Texas Supreme Court in May ruled the state could resume investigating parents on the grounds of "child abuse," if they're seeking gender-affirming care for transgender minors.
DeSantis, R-Fla., in June said he'd "for sure" sign legislation banning transgender surgeries for minors.
Last year, California added Florida, Arkansas, Montana, North Dakota, and West Virginia to the list of places where state-funded travel is banned because of laws that discriminate against members of the LGBTQ community.
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