Newsom’s Unexpected Vetoes: The Battle for LGBTQ+ Rights Takes a Hit in California

Governor Gavin Newsom, typically celebrated as a progressive champion, threw some unexpected curveballs recently, vetoing not one, not two, but four bills aimed at expanding LGBTQ+ protections. And that’s not all; this legislative session witnessed him vetoing a total of five LGBTQ-related bills. It’s a puzzling move, especially coming from a blue-state leader.

At the center of these vetoes is a groundbreaking bill that would’ve demanded out-of-state insurance for Californian workers to cover essential services like gender-affirming and abortion care. The Future of Abortion Council, alongside the Legislative Women’s Caucus, backed this measure with the belief that access to reproductive care isn’t just about open clinics. Genuine healthcare access demands more.

Assemblymember Buffy Wicks from Oakland championed another vetoed bill focusing on evolving how we define ‘family.’ This crucial legislation would’ve shielded workers from taking time off to care for their biological or chosen loved ones. As Wicks aptly puts it, it’s time the laws evolve with society, ensuring that “workers can care for those they love, and not get punished for it.”

Rick Chavez Zbur from Santa Monica/West Hollywood introduced a crucial bill that Newsom axed, which focused on the health sector. It was devised to eliminate grey areas and strengthen the existing legal framework ensuring Californian health insurance providers do their due diligence. Key services include life-saving PrEP medication, preventing HIV transmission, and critical STI screenings. Zbur’s message is clear: preventive care shouldn’t come with hidden costs.

Additionally, the ‘Unicorn Homes’ project, introduced by Tasha Boerner from Encinitas, has unfortunately faced the axe too. This initiative was designed as a lifeline for homeless LGBTQ+ youth in San Diego, providing them with a temporary safe haven. A staggering number of LGBTQ+ youth face homelessness due to family rejection, and this initiative aims to bridge that heartbreaking gap.

Let’s zoom out a bit: Newsom vetoed a whopping 143 bills over the weekend. The larger picture reveals vetoes that seem off-brand for Newsom, affecting issues from insulin pricing to environmental concerns.

Although the State Legislature could flex its muscle, and override Newsom’s vetoes with a two-thirds majority, the likelihood is slim. Not since 1980 has a governor’s veto been overridden.

For Californians and supporters of LGBTQ+ rights, these developments raise important questions about the direction the state’s leadership is heading. In a state known for its progressive stance, it’s essential to stay vigilant and active in pushing for the protections and rights the community deserves. California, the ball is in your court. Let’s keep the conversation going!