California Bill Threatens Parental Custody For Not 'Affirming' a Child's 'Gender Identity'

Emma Campbell | June 12, 2023
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A new amendment to a California bill could make it possible for parents to lose custody of their child if they do not affirm the child’s gender identity.

AB 957, co-sponsored by Assembly Member Lori Wilson (D-Suisun City) and State Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), passed the California State Assembly on May 3, but was later amended by Wiener on June 6. The bill as it was originally written would require courts to consider whether a child’s parents were “gender-affirming” when dealing with custody cases.

The amendment to AB 957 would change Section 3011 of the California Family Code to include “a parent’s affirmation of the child’s gender identity” as part of the health, safety, and welfare of the child. Under this new definition, and in accordance with the procedures already outlined in the code, California courts would have the authority to remove a child from the home if the parents do not affirm the child’s gender identity.

Additionally, the bill does not provide any sort of definition for what would constitute not affirming a child’s gender. The Washington Free Beacon reported that there are “no distinctions regarding the age of a child, how long a child has identified as transgender, or affirmation or social transition versus medical sex-change treatments.”

Due to its lack of specific qualifiers, the bill could potentially open up other entities, such as churches, schools, and hospitals, to being charged with child abuse if they do not affirm a child’s gender identity. It could also broaden which organizations can bring evidence of gender “nonaffirmation” to the California courts. As reported by The Daily Signal, “California’s courts would now be able to accept reports of gender ‘abuse’ from progressive activist organizations—as long as they claim to provide ‘services to victims of sexual assault or domestic

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Nicole Pearson, founder of the Facts Law Truth Justice law firm, called AB 957 a “horrifying bill” in an interview with The Daily Signal.

“This will be a final, legal determination without any evidence in support, or a hearing with notice or the opportunity to be heard,” Pearson said. “Assemblywoman Wilson and Senator Scott Wiener are not doctors. They can’t make this determination for every single child aged 0 to
17 in the state and, yet, that is exactly what they’re trying to do here.”

This is not Wiener’s first piece of legislation concerning transgenderism and children. In 2022, he authored SB107, which established California as the first “sanctuary” state in the country for minors seeking transgender treatments and surgeries without parents’ consent. He has also advanced a bill which would require foster parents to affirm the gender identity of foster children in their care.

AB 957 is scheduled for hearing in the State Senate on June 13.

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