On Friday, California’s Third District Court of Appeal overturned a key protection of SB 219 — a bill authored by Senator Scott Wiener in 2017 — stating in the decision that the law requiring staff members of long-term care facilities to use a facility resident’s correct name and pronouns is a violation of the staff’s First Amendment rights to free speech, free exercise of religion, and freedoms of thought and belief.
SB 219, also known as the LGBTQ Senior Bill of Rights, protects LGBTQ seniors in long-term care facilities from discrimination and mistreatment based on their sexual orientation and gender identity. Senator Wiener authored and passed SB 219 in 2017, and then-Governor Jerry Brown signed the bill into law.
Senator Wiener released the following statement on the Court’s decision:
“The Court’s decision is disconnected from the reality facing transgender people. Deliberately misgendering a transgender person isn’t just a matter of opinion, and it’s not simply ‘disrespectful, discourteous, or insulting.’ Rather, it’s straight up harassment. And, it erases an individual’s fundamental humanity, particularly one as vulnerable as a trans senior in a nursing home. This misguided decision cannot be allowed to stand.”