A controversial bill in California, AB 957, could lead to the criminalization of parents who do not affirm transgenderism for their children.
AB 957 Raises Concerns
A recently amended bill in California, AB 957, will add “affirming” a child’s sexual transition to the state’s standard for parental responsibility and child welfare.
This bill, for purposes of this provision, would include a parent’s affirmation of the child’s gender identity as part of the health, safety, and welfare of the child.
(a) In making a determination of the best interests of the child in a proceeding described in Section 3021, the court shall, among any other factors it finds relevant and consistent with Section 3020, consider all of the following:
The health, safety, and welfare of the child.(B) As used in this paragraph, the health, safety, and welfare of the child includes a parent’s affirmation of the child’s gender identity.
If the bill passes, parents who fail to affirm transgenderism for their child could result in being criminalized and guilty of abuse under California state law.
Assembly Member Lori Wilson introduced AB 957 in February and it passed California’s State Assembly last month, and was amended by co-sponsor, State Sen. Scott Weiner this month.
Parents Forced to Affirm “Gender Transitions”
AB 957 post-amendment redefines the standard of child care in California, including a parent’s affirmation of the child’s gender identity as part of the child’s health, safety, and welfare and could grant California courts authority to remove children from their home if the parents disapprove of LGBTQ+ ideology.
Under AB 957, organizations interacting with children, such as schools, churches, and hospitals, would be required to affirm “gender transitions” by default or face potential charges of child abuse.
The bill also expands the range of organizations that can provide evidence of gender “nonaffirmation” to California’s courts.
AB 957 fails to provide a clear definition of what qualifies as “nonaffirming” regarding a child’s gender. It remains uncertain which law or precedent California courts would rely on to determine parental affirmation or establish a consistent standard for all situations.
Criticism from Advocacy Groups and Experts
Parental rights advocates and experts strongly criticized AB 957.
Jay Richards, Director of the Richard and Helen DeVos Center for Life, Religion, and Family at The Heritage Foundation, calls it a “grotesque violation” of children’s and parent’s rights. Nicole Pearson, the founder of the Facts Law Truth Justice law firm, condemns the bill’s unconstitutionality, arguing that lawmakers cannot make blanket determinations for every child in the state.
If signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom, AB 957 could set a precedent that extends beyond California, which would mean that similar legislation might become law, too, in other states.
AB 957 is set for a hearing in the State Senate on June 13.
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