In California, it’s now a crime to refuse to use the gender pronoun nursing home residents prefer.
Gov. Jerry Brown signed the “LGBT Senior Bill of Rights” Thursday, which only applies to nursing homes and long-term care facilities. According to the law, people who “willfully and repeatedly” do not “use a transgender resident’s preferred name or pronouns” could, if found guilty of the misdemeanor, spend up to a year in county jail and face a $1000 fine. The law also requires the aforementioned facilities to allow residents to use the bathroom of their choice.
State Sen. Scott Weiner, who authored the legislation, argued people’s religious beliefs must be put aside in public places.
“Everyone is entitled to their religious view,” Wiener said. “But when you enter the public space, when you are running an institution, you are in a workplace, you are in a civil setting, and you have to follow the law.”
He also thanked Brown in a statement after he signed the bill into law.
“Our LGBT seniors built the modern LGBT community and led the fight for so many of the rights our community takes for granted today. It is our duty to make sure they can age with the dignity and respect they deserve,” he said. “I want to thank Governor Brown for joining our coalition in supporting this bill, which will make a real difference in people’s lives. The LGBT Senior Bill of Rights is an important step in our fight to ensure all people are treated equally regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.”