Skip to main content

Governor Signs Bill to Ensure Privacy of Transgender and Nonbinary Californians When Updating Legal Documents

For immediate release:

(SACRAMENTO, CA) – Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill (AB) 218 by Assemblymember Chris Ward (D – San Diego) into law, to create a process for Californian’s seeking a change of gender to also request that their marriage license, certificate, and their children's birth certificates be reissued with their updated gender affirming information.

“All Californians, regardless of gender identity, deserve to live a life of privacy, without fear of prejudice or violence,” said Assemblymember Ward. “However, transgender and nonbinary individuals often face unnecessary hurdles, privacy violations, and harassment when attempting to access basic services that many Californians take for granted. This bill ensures all Californians receive access to gender affirming legal documents in a manner that protects their privacy and prevents discrimination.

Previous law allowed transgender and nonbinary Californians to petition courts to change their name and gender to conform to their gender identity. However, there was no provision as to the treatment of their marriage certificates and the birth certificates of their children. In the event of a name or gender change on these documents the old certificate was attached to the new certificate and the incorrect legal name was listed next to the current legal name.

“Governor Newsom’s signature on AB 218 bolsters an important right for trans and nonbinary Californians – privacy,” said Equality California Legislative Director Tami A. Martin. “While this victory is years in the making, its need is urgent and apparent as state legislatures across the country continue to roll back rights for trans and nonbinary people. We are grateful for Assemblymember Ward’s leadership to secure this right and to protect trans and nonbinary Californians — and their children — from discrimination and harassment while updating important documents.”

AB 218 will protect the privacy of transgender and nonbinary individuals and prevent discrimination when these individuals enroll their child in school, apply for a loan, or seek to make medical decisions on behalf of an incapacitated spouse.

For questions on AB 218, or to schedule an interview with Assemblymember Ward, contact Ansermio Estrada.