The California State Assembly passed a bill on Friday, A.B. 957, with a vote of 57-16 along party lines that would require judges in child custody cases to take into account whether a parent has supported their child’s perceived gender transition by incorporating “gender affirmation” into the child’s “health, safety, and welfare” according to state law.
The California Senate previously passed the same bill on Wednesday with a 30-9 vote. Governor Gavin Newsom is likely to sign the legislation into law shortly.
Should this occur, it could potentially mean that parents who do not go along with their child’s perceived gender identity could be found guilty of failing to provide their child with sufficient “health, safety, and welfare,” resulting in loss of custody of said child.
Lori Wilson, a member of the Assembly, introduced A.B. 957 on February 14, with State Senator Scott Wiener amending it on June 6 to include that a judge would need to consider if a child experiencing gender dysphoria was actively being “affirmed” by their parents.
Despite Wilson’s personal connection to this issue as her own child identifies as transgender, some have raised concerns regarding the lack of definition surrounding “gender affirmation” in the bill and how it could be used against parents.
Susannah Luthi of the Washington Free Beacon noted that there are no distinctions made regarding age or length of time identifying as transgender in terms of social transition versus medical sex-change treatments.
Journalist Greg Price reported on Wilson’s previous comments about parents ‘affirming’ their child’s perceived transition, that “[t]ypically, it happens when their gender identity matches their biological gender. But when it doesn’t, the affirmation starts to wane. … Our duty as parents is to affirm our children.”
In response to this report, X CEO Elon Musk expressed his concern regarding the new law proposed in some states, suggesting that it could lead to families and companies leaving the state in order to avoid “risking their children being sterilized by the government”.
He further suggested that what this law “actually means is that if you disagree with the other parent about sterilizing your child, you lose custody” – describing it as an “utter madness”.
Under California Penal Code, the passing of A.B. 957 could potentially lead to parents facing penalties for not engaging in their child’s perceived transgenderism, causing some to believe that they may be charged with neglect or abuse.
In response to this, State Senator Scott Wilk has strongly suggested that parents from California consider relocating in order to protect their children and families.