California Governor Gavin Newsom’s Veto Sparks Controversy in Transgender Rights, Immigration, and Autonomous Vehicles

On September 20, 2023, California Governor Gavin Newsom vetoed a bill that would have required judges to consider parents' acceptance of their children's gender identities in custody disputes.[0] This decision sparked outrage among LGBTQ lawmakers and activists who saw it as a setback for transgender rights.

The bill, Assembly Bill 957, was authored by Lori Wilson, a parent of a transgender child.[1] It aimed to ensure that judges take into account a parent's recognition and affirmation of their child's gender identity when making custody decisions. However, Governor Newsom stated in his veto message that he urges caution when the executive and legislative branches of state government attempt to dictate legal standards for the judicial branch to apply.[2]

Newsom acknowledged the passion and values behind the bill but stated that he believes it could set a precedent for other-minded elected officials to diminish the civil rights of vulnerable communities.[2] He emphasized that the current law already requires courts to consider a child's health, safety, and welfare when determining custody arrangements, including a parent's affirmation of their child's gender identity.

While LGBTQ activists expressed disappointment and frustration with the veto, some recognized Newsom's longstanding commitment to advancing transgender rights. Senator Scott Wiener, a gay San Francisco Democrat, called the veto a tragedy for trans kids and urged California to stand unequivocally with them.[0]

In addition to vetoing the bill on LGBTQ rights, Newsom also vetoed a bill that would have banned California prisons from sharing information on incarcerated immigrants with federal officials.[3] He argued that the current law already strikes a balance between limiting interaction with federal immigration enforcement and supporting community trust and cooperation between law enforcement and local communities.[4]

Furthermore, Newsom vetoed a bill that would have required human safety operators to be present in autonomous trucks operating on public roads.[5] This decision was seen as a blow to the labor movement, which views emerging driverless technologies as a threat to union jobs.[6]

Newsom's vetoes are seen as a signal that he is willing to challenge the progressive Legislature and prioritize a balance of interests.[7] While some criticize his decisions, others see them as politically astute, recognizing that not all of California aligns with the progressive agenda.[8] The fight for transgender rights and the regulation of emerging technologies will continue, but for now, Newsom's vetoes have sparked debate and set the stage for ongoing discussions on these important issues.

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. “California governor deals blow to LGBTQ+ community by blocking Democrat bill” The Telegraph, 23 Sep. 2023,

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

4. “Gov. Newsom Vetoed 3 Bills, Including Widely Supported Proposal Against ICE Transfers Of Non-Citizen Prisoners” LAist, 23 Sep. 2023,

5. “Governor vetoes autonomous trucking ban in California” Yahoo Finance, 23 Sep. 2023,

6. “Newsom Vetoes Bill to Require Drivers in Autonomous Trucks” Bloomberg Law, 23 Sep. 2023,

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

8. “Newsom's veto of radical transgender bill shows parents are gaining ground” Washington Examiner, 24 Sep. 2023,

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