09-11-2023 STEVE WARREN
California’s state assembly has passed a bill requiring judges in child custody hearings to consider whether or not parents affirm or support a child’s desire to change their gender.
Parental rights groups opposed the bill known as AB 957, warning it likely would lead to kids being taken from parents in custody cases if parents don’t support the child’s desire to transition.
The bill passed on a party-line vote of 57-16 with Democrats supporting it and Republicans voting against it. The California Senate had previously passed the bill last Wednesday 30-9, also along the same party lines.
The California bill would make gender affirmation one factor among many that courts already have to consider in custody proceedings, including whether a parent has been abusive and how much contact the child has with the parents. What “affirmation” looks like varies depending on the particular child and their age, said Assemblymember Lori Wilson, a Democrat who introduced the bill. She has an adult son who came out as transgender when he was a teenager.
However, the term “gender affirmation” isn’t defined or explained in AB 957 or any other California law, drawing concerns over interpretation, according to The Daily Signal.
The bill does not lay out specific requirements related to gender-altering surgeries.
Democratic Sen. Scott Wiener, who represents San Francisco, said the bill was a proactive measure to protect kids.
“This is about trying to make sure that something terrible does not happen to them,” Wiener said.
But State Sen. Kelly Seyarto, who represents Murrieta in southern California, argued lawmakers were interfering too much with how parents choose to raise their children.
“Inserting this into the mix is going to pit one parent against the other and make things worse,” Seyarto said.
The bill will still need to have Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom’s signature by Oct. 14 to become law.
Critics torched the measure for threatening to consider taking away a parent’s custody if they fail to endorse a child’s gender confusion as a biological fact.
“This bill is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. What it actually means is that if you disagree with the other parent about sterilizing your child, you lose custody,” tech entrepreneur and Tesla and Space X founder Elon Musk wrote on X. “Utter madness!”
Detransitioner Chloe Chole, 19, who testified to Congress in July about the dangers of gender-altering treatments and surgeries on minors, also blasted the bill.
“This issue is wildly unpopular yet the Cali Gov pushes forward with more and more radical policies,” she wrote. “@ProtectKidsCA is trying to introduce ballot measures that will stop the sterilization of kids in California.”
Tony Kinnett, an investigative columnist at The Daily Signal, wrote, “‘Affirm your child’s mental illness or we’ll rip them from your home’ is a horrifically evil threat…and it’s about to become the law in California.”
One critic suggested on social media, “Home school your kids.”
And another wrote, “California is quickly becoming the most anti-parent state in the union.”
One user replied directly to Musk, saying, “Elon, run for Governor of California. You’re the only guy with a chance of winning who isn’t completely insane.”
Another user answered, “Better idea: Elon Musk, run from California as soon as you can.”