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California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks during an interview in Sacramento, Calif., Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2023. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

CA Governor Signs Law Requiring Public Schools to Have Gender-Neutral Bathrooms

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California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed legislation that requires schools serving first through 12th grade to have at least one gender-neutral bathroom available for students by 2026.

Senate Bill 760 was among several measures signed into law by Newsom that he said were designed to strengthen protections for the Golden State's LGBTQ community. 

The law requires "the all-gender restroom to meet certain requirements, including, among other things, that it has signage identifying the bathroom facility as being open to all genders and is unlocked, unobstructed, and easily accessible by any pupil," the measure states.

All California taxpayers will be paying for gender-neutral restrooms because the California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state.

slider img 2"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.

He signed pro-LGBTQ measures into law after being criticized for vetoing a bill that would have required judges to consider whether parents affirmed their child's gender disorder when making decisions in custody court battles.

The bill, known as AB 957 already required courts to consider whether parents are affirming their child's gender in custody battles, but a proposed amendment to the existing state law "would include a parent's affirmation of the child's gender identity as part of the health, safety, and welfare of the child."

The new amendment would have altered the California Family Code to allow courts to step in if a family disapproves of transgender ideology.

But the amended bill could still become law if Democrats, who hold supermajorities in both legislative chambers, override Newsom's veto with a two-thirds vote.

Meanwhile, two high schools in the San Luis Coastal Unified School District already have gender-neutral bathrooms, according to KSBY-TV

San Luis Coastal Unified School District Assistant Superintendent Ryan Pinkerton told the outlet the addition of gender-neutral bathrooms is nothing new, adding the conversation about adding them has been going on for years. 

Pinkerton said his district will use school bond money to add more of the bathrooms to its other schools.

School District in California Court Fighting for Parents' Rights

Senate Bill 760 was sponsored by three Democratic state senators in response to a Southern California school district that instituted a policy requiring schools to tell parents when their children change their pronouns or use a bathroom of a gender other than the one listed on their official paperwork. 

A judge halted the policy after California Attorney General Rob Bonta sued the Chino Valley Unified School District. The lawsuit is ongoing.

As CBN News reported last month, the lawsuit is the latest move in an intensifying battle between a handful of school districts and the state about the rights of students and their parents.

Chino Valley Board President Sonja Shaw told KABC-TV the lawsuit is no surprise to her and the state has repeatedly taken steps "to shut parents out of their children's lives."

"We will stand our ground and protect our children with all we can because we are not breaking the law," she told the outlet. "Parents have a constitutional right in the upbringing of their children. Period."

Shaw and supporters say parents have a right to know the decisions their children are making in schools.

"We are giving parents a voice," she shared during a press conference last week. "It doesn't matter if you are Democrat or Republican. It doesn't matter what party you affiliate with. It doesn't matter what religious background you come from. We all come together because parents have a right and we want to protect our children."

"Their goal was to break up the family unit and take control of our children," said Shaw. "When we push back they do unethical things to quiet us."

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About The Author

Steve Warren is a senior multimedia producer for CBN News. Warren has worked in the news departments of television stations and cable networks across the country. In addition, he also worked as a producer-director in television production and on-air promotion. A Civil War historian, he authored the book The Second Battle of Cabin Creek: Brilliant Victory. It was the companion book to the television documentary titled Last Raid at Cabin Creek currently streaming on Amazon Prime. He holds an M.A. in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma and a B.A. in Communication from the University of