Federal Court Dismisses Suit against California’s Transgender Sanctuary State Law

By David M. Greenwald
Executive Editor

Sacramento, CA – The US District Court dismissed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of SB 107—the California Transgender State of Refuge Law, that protects children and families seeking gender-affirming care, as well as their health care providers, from “bigoted anti-trans laws in other states that criminalize medically necessary health care that is legal in California.”

In the dismissal without leave to amend, the court dismissed the lawsuit on Article III standing grounds, finding that the plaintiff failed to allege that SB 107 injured them in any way, and failed to allege any facts showing that SB 107 forced the plaintiff to divert staff time and resources.

In response, Senator Wiener stated, “Transgender people just want to live their lives authentically and in peace, and California is defending their right to do so.”

“No one should ever be marginalized for seeking the care they need,” said Attorney General Bonta. “The court’s decision is a major win for transgender children and their families in California and across the U.S. amidst a growing assault on LGBTQ+ rights nationwide. My office stands ready to defend SB 107 to ensure transgender and gender-nonconforming individuals obtain the care that empowers them to lead healthier, happier lives.”

“This ruling shows once again that trans people are living authentically in California without any of the negative impacts on those around them of which right-wing zealots accuse them,” the Senator said. California’s leadership is united in defending transgender people, and LGBTQ people generally, from the vicious attacks they face in other states. I thank Attorney General Bonta and his team for their incredible work securing this major civil rights victory.”

Our Watch with Tim Thompson, an advocacy organization “dedicated to protecting family and parental rights in California,” brought this action against the Attorney General of California to challenge the constitutionality of SB 107.

In July of 2023, the court granted the defendant’s motion to dismiss.  In the order, the court detailed legal standards for organizational standing and identified several deficiencies in plaintiff’s allegations, which fell short of satisfying those standing requirements.

The plaintiffs filed a second amendment complaint stating that their mission is “to restore Christian-Judeo values in government and education,” and it “is committed to tackling major cultural issues that violate Chistian-Judeo values.”

Our Watch now alleges that it “tackles these issues by hosting speakers at church and on its podcast, organizing events and conferences, sending letters to elected officials, organizing rallies, and researching issues that affect its mission and members, who are primarily comprised of Christians and parents.”

The Plaintiff also alleges that its “members look to Our Watch to help them get involved in local and state-wide advocacy,” and it “provides research on upcoming statewide bills and local races—issues that are important to Our Watch’s members—and provides them with resources to get involved with legislative advocacy,” including “connect[ing] them with other organizations who may be scheduling rallies and protests and provides them with vital information on proposed bills and candidates through a biblical vantage point.”

In their motion, the defendant, Attorney General Rob Bonta, once again argues that the plaintiff lacks standing “because SB 107 did not impede any of plaintiff’s organizational activities or functions.”

The AG contends that plaintiff has still not met the requirements for organizational standing because it “has not identified any actual injury—in the form of a real-world impediment to plaintiff’s activities—caused by SB 107.

The court writes that it “is persuaded by defendant’s arguments, many of which closely track the court’s analysis and conclusions set forth in its July 18, 2023, order dismissing plaintiff’s FAC due to lack of Article III standing.”

Moreover, the court added, “plaintiff’s opposition to the pending motion, on the other hand, largely ignores the court’s prior analysis and doubles down on its conclusory arguments.”

The court continues, “Contrary to plaintiff’s characterization, “[a]ddressing” the effects of SB 107 is clearly not synonymous with counteracting an injury caused by SB 107. Plaintiffs have simply not alleged facts to show that it was forced to divert staff time and resources away from ‘local issues’ because if it had decided not to ‘divert’ such resources, it would have suffered some other injury.”

The court therefore concludes that the plaintiff “has again failed to adequately allege facts sufficient to satisfy the established requirements for organizational standing. Accordingly, defendant’s motion to dismiss plaintiff’s SAC due to plaintiff’s lack of Article III standing will be granted.”

This time, it was granted without leave to amend.

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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