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A recently amended California bill would classify not affirming a child’s gender identity by one or both parents as “child abuse.”
AB 957 was introduced into the California legislature by Assemblymember Lori Wilson (D-Suisun City) and state Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco). The bill rewrites much of the state’s family law and classifies “a parent’s affirmation of the child’s gender identity as part of the health, safety, and welfare of the child.”
The bill amends Section 3011 of the Family Code, which deals with child custody disputes, and requires that a court determining the “best interests” of the child must consider affirmation of transgender identity. If a parent were to deny the child’s “gender identity,” it would be a violation of the child’s health, safety, and welfare — equivalent to child abuse.
Because the bill changes the definition of what constitutes the “health, safety, and welfare” of a child, any organization interacting with children — including schools, churches, and hospitals — would be required to affirm gender transitions in minors.
The Washington Free Beacon reported that Wilson’s spokesman disputed the claim that the revisions change anything about the bill and stated that AB 957 relates only to family law, not criminal law.
“It’s not saying [affirmation] is the most important factor or determining factor,” the spokesman, Taylor Woolfork, said. “It’s one of many factors that the judge should consider while working out a custody agreement.”
The bill’s text is ambiguous and general, making no distinctions regarding the age of the child, how long the child has identified as transgender, or the difference between affirming social transitions and sex-change treatments.
Nicole Peterson, founder of the law firm and civil rights advocacy group Facts Law Truth Justice, condemned AB 957 in an interview with The Daily Signal.
“If a parent or guardian is unwilling or simply not ready to affirm their 7-year-old’s new identity — as they transition from Spongebob to Batman to Dora the Explorer — they can be found guilty of child abuse under AB-957 if it passes into law,” Peterson said. “This is a horrifying bill for children, and for parents and guardians not just in California, but across the country. 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.”
Wiener recently turned heads after inviting “Sister Roma,” a member of an anti-Catholic group of “drag queen nuns,” to be honored at the California Capitol for Pride month. He also authored SB 107, making California the first state to establish itself as a “sanctuary” for transgender treatments for minors. California Governor Gavin Newsom signed that bill into law in September 2022.
AB 957 easily cleared the state’s lower house — with 16 mostly Democratic members refraining from voting. The recent changes head to a Senate committee hearing next week.