The bill adds parents affirming a child’s gender identity to the standard of what is considered parental responsibility for a child’s welfare when being judged in a court of law to be considered a fit parent for providing for “the health, safety, and welfare of the child.”
If signed into law, parents involved in custody battles who do not affirm the gender identity of their child could be found liable of child abuse for violating the new California standards for health and safety. The child could then be removed from the home under Section 3011 of California’s Family Code.
Critics of the bill say it could allow for parents to be legally charged with child abuse for not affirming the gender identity of their children across the board.
The bill changes the definition of “health, safety, and welfare” for children, meaning any institution in California that interacts with children would now be required to affirm the gender identity of a child.
The bill makes no distinction for the age of a child or how long the child has been identifying as transgender, nor does it define what constitutes affirmation.
The original version of the bill, co-sponsored by California state Sen. Scott Weiner and written by Assembly member Lori Wilson, both Democrats, proposed that in custody cases courts must consider whether each parent affirmed the child’s gender identity. The amendment was added to AB 957 on June 6 in the California state Senate. The bill passed May 3 in the California State Assembly. The bill was scheduled for a hearing June 13.
A separate bill aimed at requiring the gender identity of foster children going into a foster home be affirmed by the foster parents was also introduced by Sen. Weiner. In 2022, Sen. Weiner introduced a bill allowing LGBTQ+ children to obtain sex changes in California without parental consent.
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