On Friday night, California Governor Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, rejected a bill that would have forced judges in child custody disputes to examine whether a parent has confirmed their child’s gender identification.
Originally, AB 957 recommended that courts resolving custody issues evaluate whether each parent confirmed the child’s gender identification. In June, a modification was added to the state’s threshold of what constitutes parental responsibility in a court of law for caring for “the health, safety, and welfare of the child.”
This new bill, named the Intersex Youth Empowerment Act, Transgender, and Gender-Diverse, proposes to prioritize children’s “health, safety, and welfare,” with a focus on supporting a child’s gender identification. This act was proposed by Democratic Assemblywoman Lori D. Wilson on February 24 and subsequently modified in the Senate on March 13 and on June 5 before being approved.
Parents who fail to accept and support their child’s gender transition may face sanctions under the proposed law, including the loss of parental authority to another parent or even the government itself. Supporters of the law claim that it is in the best interests of children, with the goal of creating a more inclusive and accepting atmosphere for gender-diverse youth.
However, the Republican opponents have expressed fears that this measure may encroach on parental authority and autonomy. The argument put up by opponents is that it might result in circumstances where parents are punished for refusing to accommodate a child’s gender transition, which they perceive as government overreach.
Gavin Newsom Views on Bill
The bill was sent to the governor’s office for signature before it was passed at the start of this month. But, in a statement published on Friday night, Governor Gavin Newsom said that he would not sign the bill.
Gavin Newsom said he acknowledges the “passion and values” that prompted Democrat Assemblywoman Lori Wilson to bring the bill and that he wrote a deep commitment to furthering the rights of transgender Californians, which has driven my judgments over many decades in public office.
Having stated that I recommend caution when the executive and legislative branches of the state government attempt to impose, in prescriptive language that singles out one characteristic, legal criteria for the judicial branch to follow. Further, he said other-minded government leaders in California and other places may utilize this tactic to restrict the civil rights of vulnerable people.
Gender confirmation would have been one of numerous considerations for judges to consider in custody disputes under AB 957. Lori D. Wilson, who co-authored the bill with Democrat state Sen. Scott Wiener, has stated that the legislation would not have obliged parents to pursue gender change medical treatment.
On Friday, when the governor rejected the bill, Wilson said she was very disheartened, as she knew the governor’s past and had been a strong supporter of the LGBTQ+ community for many years. He was a supporter of the community when it was not famous. However, she disagrees with the governor’s point.
Lori D. Wilson also said she has been very disappointed over the past few years, as she has seen the escalating hatred and heard the vitriol directed at the LGBTQ+ community.
Wilson said when the bill was passed in an assembly on September 8, LGBTQ+ kids learn to care for and value themselves when they are respected by their parents and family. The TGI Youth Empowerment Act will provide affirming parents with the family court help they need to continue to love and affirm their unique TGI children.”
Wiener posted on X, the new name of Twitter, that Newsom’s rejection is bad news for transgender kids in the city and around the country. These children are living in terror as right-wing politicians attempt to marginalize them, deny them health care, bar them from sports and public restrooms, and erase their humanity.
Wiener said on X that Governor Newsom has been a strong ally to the LGBTQ+ community. But, with respect, this rejection is a mistake.