Recently, a California state bill, AB 957, was amended so that parents involved in custody battles could potentially face accusations of child abuse if they do not affirm their children’s gender identities.
The bill, which initially proposed that courts deciding custody cases consider the extent to which each parent affirms the child’s gender, passed in the State Assembly on May 3. The amendment broadens the definition of parental responsibility for child welfare, stipulating that parents must affirm their child’s gender identity to be deemed fit for providing for “the health, safety, and welfare of the child” in a court of law.
Critics of the bill argue that it could pave the way for legally branding any non-affirmation of a child’s gender identity as child abuse.
If the amended bill becomes law, parents who fail to meet this new standard of health and safety could be held responsible for child abuse, potentially leading to their children being removed from their homes.
Democratic Assembly member Lori Wilson and State Senator Scott Weiner introduced the original bill to the legislative body in February. Sen. Weiner has also promoted a separate bill necessitating foster parents to affirm the gender identities of children entering their homes.
In 2022, the San Francisco senator introduced SB 107 with the aim of making California a refuge for LGBTQ children to acquire sex changes without the need for parental consent.
The bill, after passing the state assembly, was introduced to the state senate and amended on June 6. As a result, the bill’s provisions would adjust the California Family Code by incorporating gender identity affirmation as a legal standard parents must satisfy to be recognized as adequately providing for their child’s “health, safety, and welfare.”
The amendment means that, in custody disputes, if parents deny their child’s gender identity, state courts, under Section 3011 of California’s Family Code, would have the authority to remove the child from the parent’s custody.
Conservative publication The Daily Signal warned that, by requiring gender affirmation in children’s health and well-being standards, the state may face accusations of child abuse from parents unwilling to accept their children as trans.
A hearing on AB 957 will take place in the state Senate on June 13.