Calif. to add third gender option to documents

Calif. to add third gender option to documents

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Pro-family advocates are lamenting California Gov. Jerry Brown’s approval Oct. 15 of a bill expanding rights for individuals identifying as transgender but celebrating his veto the same day of a measure that threatened religious liberty.

Brown signed Senate Bill (SB) 179, which adds a third gender option on official state identification documents for those who reject the designation of male or female and opt instead to be considered “nonbinary.” Among his vetoes, meanwhile, was Assembly Bill (AB) 569, which would have made it illegal for religious organizations to prohibit their employees from having abortions or engaging in sex outside marriage.

SB 179 will make California the first U.S. state allowing residents to identify their gender as “nonbinary” on birth certificates and state identification documents. The bill also will ease requirements for California natives to change the gender indicated on their birth certificates.

SB 179 takes effect Jan. 1, 2018, with the third gender option on driver’s licenses available Jan. 1, 2019.

Meanwhile, Brown’s veto of AB 569, which prohibited employers from any discipline of employees for so-called “reproductive decisions,” has drawn a sigh of relief from evangelicals.

A veto message released by Brown noted California “has long” exempted religious institutions from a state ban on employment discrimination based on “an employee’s reproductive decision.” (BP)