Court Overturns Criminalizing Pronoun Misuse

“A California law that criminalized ‘misgendering’ and the misuse of pronouns is unconstitutional under the First Amendment, according to a new decision by the state appeals court. At issue is a 2017 multi-faceted California law that placed new restrictions on long-term care facilities and was geared toward protecting LGBT residents. It was dubbed the ‘Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Long-Term Care Facility Residents’ Bill of Rights.’ Last week, a three-judge panel of the California Court of Appeals unanimously struck down a section of the law that prohibits employers from using the wrong pronouns. Violating the law could subject the employer to criminal penalties, including fines and jail time. The court ruled, ‘The First Amendment does not protect only speech that inoffensively and artfully articulates a person’s point of view. At the very least, willful refusal to refer to transgender persons by their preferred pronouns conveys general disagreement with the concept that a person’s gender identity may be different from the sex the person was assigned at birth.’ The section in question makes it unlawful to ‘willfully and repeatedly fail to use a resident’s preferred name or pronouns after being clearly informed of the preferred name or pronouns.’ Eugene Volokh, a professor of law at the University of California-Los Angeles, wrote on his blog that the decision is ‘significant and worth noting.’”

“Court Overturns,” Christian Headlines, July 22, 2021