Newsom vetoes bill that would require parents to affirm child’s gender identity in custody battles

A law already exists requiring courts to consider 'parent's affirmation of the child's gender identity,' Newsome adds

California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks during a news conference after meeting with students at James Denman Middle School on October 01, 2021, in San Francisco, California. | Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

California Gov. Gavin Newsom has vetoed a bill that would have required judges to consider a parent’s affirmation of a child’s gender identity in child custody cases.

The bill, known as AB 957, was introduced by Democrat Assemblywoman Lori Wilson and co-authored by Democrat state Sen. Scott Wiener. It was passed by the State Assembly earlier this month but faced a roadblock when Newsom decided not to sign it into law.

The legislation sought to add the affirmation of a child’s gender identity to the criteria that judges must consider when determining parental responsibility in custody cases.

In a statement released Friday night, Newsom expressed his reservations about the bill. He said he appreciates the “passion and values” that led to the bill’s introduction but urged caution.

“Other-minded elected officials, in California and other states, could very well use this strategy to diminish the civil rights of vulnerable communities,” Newsom said, noting that existing laws already require courts to consider a child’s health, safety and welfare, including the parent’s affirmation of the child’s gender identity.

Wilson, who has been an advocate for trans rights, expressed disappointment in the governor’s decision.

“However, on this point, the Governor and I disagree on the best way to protect [transgender, gender-diverse and intersex] kids,” she said in a statement, adding that her intent was to give a voice to trans-identified children, particularly in the family court system where she claims a non-affirming parent could negatively impact a child’s mental health.

Wiener also criticized the governor’s veto. Writing on X, formerly known as Twitter, that it was “a tragedy for trans kids” and labeled it a mistake. He argued that the bill would have ensured that courts take into account a child’s chosen gender identity and whether parents would be supportive.

The bill had undergone several amendments since its introduction in February. 

Detransitioner Chloe Cole had criticized the bill and accused Newsom of pushing “radical” policies. Cole has filed a lawsuit against various medical groups, alleging they performed a “mutilating, mimicry sex change experiment” on her when she was 13 years old.

Elon Musk, the owner of X, had also weighed in on the bill. He described it as “a wolf in sheep’s clothing” and called it “utter madness.”

As The Christian Post previously reported, when the amended California bill passed the Assembly in March with a 51-13 vote, all votes in favor of it came from Democrats, and all votes against it came from Republicans.

Republican state Sen. Scott Wilk of Santa Clarita had called on parents to leave the state, warning that legislation like AB 957 would not stop at divorce proceedings.

“In recent years, we have put government bureaucrats between parents, children and doctors when it comes to medical care, and now we have this, where if a parent does not support the ideology of the government, they’re going to be taken away from the home,” Wilk said. “In the past, when we’ve had these discussions, and I’ve seen parental rights atrophied, I’ve encouraged people to keep fighting. I’ve changed my mind on that. If you love your children, you need to flee California. You need to flee.”

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