California Court Ruling Infuriates LGBTQ Advocates, Says Law Mandating Trans Pronouns Violates Freedom of Speech

OPINION | This article contains commentary that reflects the author's opinion.

A California appellate court ruled that a provision in a state law is violating First Amendment rights. The provision passed four years ago mandates that certain health care workers use transgender pronouns.

The ruling from California’s Third District Court of Appeal impacts SB 219. It forced nursing home workers to use preferred transgender pronouns and names for patients. Violators of the law “could be charged with a misdemeanor and subject to punishment of a $1000 fine, or even up to one year in jail.”

The Washington Blade writes, “The Court, in a unanimous 3-0 decision, struck down this key provision of the LGBTQ Long-Term Care Facility Residents’ Bill of Rights, created by SB 219 in 2017, authored by Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) and sponsored by Equality California. The Court upheld the provision in the law that requires nursing homes to place transgender patients in rooms that match their gender identity.”

Here’s the relevant portion of the law:

Among other things, the bill would make it unlawful, except as specified, for any long-term care facility to take specified actions wholly or partially on the basis of a person’s actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) status, including, among others, willfully and repeatedly failing to use a resident’s preferred name or pronouns after being clearly informed of the preferred name or pronouns, or denying admission to a long-term care facility, transferring or refusing to transfer a resident within a facility or to another facility, or discharging or evicting a resident from a facility.

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