SACRAMENTO, CA — (05-21-23) — The LGBT Bill of Rights adopted in California is being challenged in the case of Taking Offense vs State of California.  The case pending before the California Supreme Court is challenging a provision of the state’s LGBT bill of rights that protects residents from a residential community or facility’s refusal to use their preferred name and pronouns.

The pronoun provision in California’s LGBT Bill of Rights makes it unlawful for workers to “willfully and repeatedly fail to use a resident’s preferred name or pronouns after being clearly informed of the preferred name or pronouns.”

The provision was part of the LGBT Bill of Rights adopted by the state legislature in 2017. The law mandates that “Long-term care workers refer to residents by their preferred names or pronouns, and it prohibits providers from denying admission, from involuntarily discharging, from evicting or from transferring a resident within a community or facility or to another one based on anti-LGBT attitudes of other residents or a person’s actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, gender expression or HIV status.”

The organization, Taking Offense, challenged the pronoun provision in the LGBT Bill of Rights and lost. But the ruling was reversed on appeal in 2021.

The 3rd District Court of Appeal ruled that although the state had a compelling interest in eliminating discrimination against LGBT residents, the state did not show that “criminalizing occasional, off-hand or isolated instances of misgendering by the staff at the residential facilities where they live … is necessary to advance that goal.”

Following the court’s ruling, the state appealed their decision to the California Supreme Court. The court has accepted the case for review and is expected to issue an opinion later this year.

Article by: Paul Goldberg, Staff Writer

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