California may soon require judges to look at whether a parent goes along with a child’s “gender identity” during custody disputes, worrying advocates who say parents could lose custody if they don’t agree with a child’s claims to be transgender.
The Democrat-backed bill, AB 957, passed the State Assembly on Friday and the State Senate on Thursday. If signed by California Governor Gavin Newsom, the bill would require judges to consider whether a parent “affirms” a child’s “gender identity” among other factors during custody battles.
According to the bill, “the health, safety, and welfare of the child includes, among other comprehensive factors, a parent’s affirmation of the child’s gender identity or gender expression. Affirmation includes a range of actions and will be unique for each child, but in every case must promote the child’s overall health and well-being.”
Assemblymember Lori Wilson said that “affirmation” could mean whether a parent provided gender-targeted toys, nail polish, and hair length, according to the Associated Press.
The bill passed the Assembly 57-16 and was opposed by California Republicans and conservative groups, who say the bill will erode parents’ rights and be easily manipulated.
“This bill will require judges to equate ‘affirmation of child gender transition’ directly with a child’s ‘health, safety, and welfare’ when determining custody or visitation rights. Consequently, parents who do not affirm the chosen gender identity of their child (of any age) risk having their child taken from them,” said the California Family Council.
In June, when the bill was making its way through the legislature, one attorney representing a mother of a girl who used to have gender dysphoria said that, if passed, the measure could be easily manipulated.
“Family court judges will be compelled to favor the child who will affirm the child’s delusion. Parents can easily game the system and use gender as retaliation against each other. What happens when one parent will socially affirm the child but will not agree to medicalize? Does the parent willing to do more transitioning prevail?” lawyer Erin Friday said.
Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk, who has voiced some criticism of transgender ideology, said that the bill was dangerous.
“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.Utter madness!” he posted to X.