California bill would punish parents who don’t ‘affirm’ their children’s gender identity

A recently revised California bill would treat parents’ refusal to “affirm” their children’s gender identity as a health, safety and welfare violation in the context of custody disputes.

The bill, which has already passed the State Assembly, would require judges adjudicating such disputes about children who identify as transgender to favor the parent who “asserts” the child’s preferred identity. Earlier this week, the authors published an updated version that specifically defines the “health, safety, and well-being” of a child to include “the parent’s assertion of the child’s gender identity,” a change that Opponents of the bill worry that it opens the door for non-claiming to be treated as abuse.

“When you say that gender affirmation is in the best interest of the child’s health, safety and well-being, it goes without saying. [non-affirmation] now it’s abuse, because you’re not taking care of health, safety and well-being if you’re not affirming them,” said Erin Friday, a San Francisco attorney and co-director of the Our Duty parent coalition.

The amended bill, known as AB 957, is the latest in a list of laws to enshrine left-wing gender ideology into California law. State Sen. Scott Wiener (D.), co-author of AB 957 with Assemblywoman Lori Wilson (D.), is simultaneously introducing a separate bill that would require adoptive parents to promise to “affirm” children who identify as trans . In 2022, he introduced a law, a first in the nation, enshrining California as a “safe haven” where minors from other states can get sex changes without parental consent.

Meanwhile, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R.) declared last year that helping children change their sex is child abuse.

Wilson’s spokesperson questioned whether the latest revision changes the bill much, noting that AB 957 only relates to family law, not criminal law.

“It is not to say [affirmation] it is the most important factor or determining factor,” said the spokesman, Taylor Woolfork. “It’s one of many factors that the judge must consider when crafting a custody agreement.”

Wiener’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

AB 957 easily passed the Assembly in late March with the support of 51 Democrats, though 16 lawmakers, mostly Democrats, abstained from voting. The most recent changes to the bill were made public Tuesday ahead of the first Senate committee hearing next week.

While the updated language does not define what the claim means, it tells judges to consider anything less on the part of the parents on a par with the parents’ history of drug and alcohol use, physical abuse, or neglect of a child. . The bill makes no distinctions regarding a child’s age, how long a child has identified as transgender, or affirmation of social transition versus medical sex change treatments.

Critics, who were already concerned that AB 957 would remove custody or visitation rights for gender-nonconforming parents, expressed alarm over the language change and how it could lead to allegations of abuse.

“It’s not a big leap, it’s a small step to get there,” he said Friday. “We know exactly where they’re going with that. I didn’t think the bill could get worse, but it got worse.”

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