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Gavin Newsom Faces Backlash for Vetoing LGBTQ Custody Bill, Defends Decision on Separation of Powers

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California Governor Gavin Newsom faced backlash from LGBTQ lawmakers after vetoing a bill that would have required judges to consider parents' acceptance of their children's gender identities in custody disputes.[0] The bill, Assembly Bill 957, was authored by Lori Wilson, a parent of a transgender child.[1] LGBTQ activists were disappointed by Newsom's decision, viewing it as a defeat and a setback for transgender rights. However, Newsom justified his veto by emphasizing the importance of separation of powers and cautioning against the executive and legislative branches dictating legal standards for the judiciary. He acknowledged his commitment to advancing the rights of transgender Californians but believed the existing legal framework adequately protected their interests.

This decision by Newsom ignited a heated debate among supporters and opponents of the bill. LGBTQ activists argued that the veto was a tragedy for transgender children who were already marginalized and faced discrimination.[0] They expressed concern about right-wing politicians targeting these vulnerable individuals, denying them healthcare, and erasing their humanity. Senator Scott Wiener, a prominent advocate for LGBTQ rights, called on California to stand unequivocally with transgender children. On the other hand, some conservatives applauded Newsom's veto, viewing it as a defense of parental rights. They argued that the bill would have given the state too much power to remove children from their parents' custody based on disagreements over gender identity.

In addition to the custody bill, Newsom also vetoed a bill that would have prevented California prisons from sharing information on incarcerated immigrants with federal immigration officials.[2] He defended his decision by stating that the current law struck the right balance in limiting interaction between law enforcement and federal immigration enforcement. Newsom believed that preserving community trust and cooperation should be the priority.

Furthermore, Newsom vetoed a bill that would have required human safety operators in autonomous trucks operating on public roads in California.[3] This decision countered the concerns of labor groups like the Teamsters, who feared that driverless technologies would threaten jobs. Newsom argued that existing regulations adequately addressed the challenges posed by autonomous vehicles and that further legislation was unnecessary.

Overall, Newsom's vetoes sent a message that he would not necessarily align with all progressive legislation proposed by the state's legislature.[4] The move was seen as a political win for him, given that he recognized the political realities outside of left-wing California. Critics of the bills praised Newsom's decision to prioritize parental rights and avoid becoming a victim of divisive political agendas. The debates surrounding these vetoes reflect the ongoing tensions between different stakeholders in California's political landscape.

0. “Gavin Newsom vetoes California bill weighing transgender child acceptance in custody disputes” Sacramento Bee, 23 Sep. 2023,

1. “Newsom vetoes progressives' bills on transgender children and self-driving trucks” POLITICO, 23 Sep. 2023,

2. “Gov. Newsom bucks progressives: Pro-union, LGBTQ, immigration bills vetoed” KTVU FOX 2 San Francisco, 23 Sep. 2023,

3. “California governor vetoes bill to ban driverless AV trucks” TechCrunch, 25 Sep. 2023,

4. “Newsom’s annual flash of moderation with vetoes of transgender, Big Labor and immigration bills” OCRegister, 23 Sep. 2023,

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