California Bill Would Consider It ‘Child Abuse’ to Not Affirm a Minor’s Chosen Gender Identity
A recently amended bill that originally passed California’s State Assembly in May would take the extraordinary step of holding parents liable for child abuse if they refuse to affirm the chosen gender identity of their child.
As reported by The Daily Signal, AB 957 was originally centered on requiring courts to take into consideration a parent’s willingness to affirm their child’s chosen gender identity in custody cases. But the bill was amended in the California Senate by state Senator Scott Wiener (D) on June 6 so that it “would include a parent’s affirmation of the child’s gender identity as part of the health, safety, and welfare of the child.”
Because the amended bill rewrites Section 3011 of California’s Family Code so that it would be a violation of the child’s health, safety, and welfare to not affirm their chosen gender identity, a parent that does so would be committing the equivalent of child abuse. This would then give California courts the authority to remove a child from his or her parents’ home.
In addition, organizations that interact with the child — such as schools, churches, and hospitals — would also run the risk of committing child abuse if they do not affirm a child’s chosen gender identity.
The bill could also enable LGBT activist organizations to be qualified to offer “evidence” of “nonaffirmation” to California courts. As noted by The Daily Signal’s Tony Kinnett, this means that, “In essence, a boy could report his parents to his local school’s Gay-Straight Alliance club or other LGBTQ+ organization, who could then report the boy’s parents for child abuse.”
Observers are also pointing to further cause for concern over the lack of specificity in the bill’s language. As noted by The Washington Free Beacon’s Susannah Luthi, there is no definition of what “affirmation” or “nonaffirmation” means. In addition, “The bill makes no distinctions regarding the age of a child, how long a child has identified as transgender, or affirmation of social transition versus medical sex-change treatments.”
What’s more, Kinnett writes, “It remains unclear what law or precedent California courts would be able to cite in determining whether a parent was affirming — much less to define a standard that applies to all situations.”
The bill appears to be an additional attempt to pave the way for minors to receive cross-sex hormones and permanently body-altering surgeries that have become intensely controversial in recent years, with an increasing number of states and European countries pumping the breaks on allowing minors to undergo gender transition procedures. So far, 19 states have enacted laws protecting children from these procedures, and countries known for being politically progressive, such as Norway, the United Kingdom, France, Finland, Australia, and Sweden have all moved to scale them back.
Nonetheless, the California legislation is moving forward, with the next Senate hearing scheduled for June 13.
A number of experts are decrying the bill as a serious violation against parental rights and the health and wellbeing of children.
“This is a horrifying bill for children, and for parents and guardians not just in California, but across the country,” said Nicole Peterson, founder of the civil rights advocacy group Facts Law Truth Justice. “Gavin Newsom is gunning for president in 2028. If he signs this bill into law, here, it will be headed to every state if he wins.”
Jay Richards, a senior fellow at The Heritage Foundation, was equally concerned. “They not only want to make sure that any child with discordant feelings toward his or her sexed body gets fast tracked to cross-sex hormones and sterilizing surgery, state Democrats want to go after parents who might otherwise hesitate,” he observed. “This is a grotesque violation of both children’s and parent’s rights. Decent Californians on the Left, Right, and center should be outraged.”
Jonathan Keller, president of the California Family Council, also strongly condemned the bill as a direct attack on parental rights and constitutional freedoms.
“It is horrifying for lawmakers to threaten mothers and fathers whose only ‘crime’ is believing their children’s sex is rooted in biology, not mere feelings,” he told The Washington Stand. “Despite California’s delusions, we have every right to protect our sons and daughters from sterilizing drugs and mutilating surgeries. Parental rights are sacrosanct, and the First Amendment prevents government bureaucrats from ripping apart families merely because their religious convictions have fallen out of favor with radical ideologues.”
Dan Hart is senior editor at The Washington Stand.