A bill intended to prevent the harassment of gay and lesbian foster kids--but which is opposed by several conservative and religious groups--is headed to California governor Gray Davis. The bill, which directs the state to recruit gay foster care providers in the same way it recruits other minority-group providers, passed the California assembly 41-28 after a heated debate Monday. The measure, by Assemblywoman Judy Chu (D-Monterey Park), encourages counties to offer training to foster parents so they can support gay, bisexual, or transgendered foster youth.
There are about 250,000 foster children in California, and up to 10% have identified themselves as gay, according to a spokesman from Chu's office. Republican assembly members and conservative organizations have blasted the measure, saying it will drive religious families from the foster care system. The measure now goes to Davis for his signature. A spokesman from the governor's office said Davis has not yet taken a position on the bill.