California Gov. Gavin Newsom vetoed a state measure on Friday that would have required parents to “affirm gender transitions” for their children or risk losing custody.
State Democrats’ bill, AB 957, cleared both the California Senate and the Assembly along party lines two weeks earlier on Sept. 8.
AB 957 would have added “gender affirmation”—a term California doesn’t define or explain—as an essential need of every child to California family law, along with “health, safety, and welfare.”
Assembly member Lori Wilson, D-Suisun City, whose child identifies as transgender, wrote the bill and introduced it Feb. 14. State Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, co-sponsored the measure.
The Daily Signal previously reported that Wiener successfully amended the bill June 6, altering AB 957 from requiring a judge to consider whether a child experiencing gender dysphoria was “affirmed” by parents to making “gender affirmation” an essential need of a child in California.
Violating the standard of “health, safety, and welfare” set for a child under the California Family Code can carry penalties under the California Penal Code—prompting parents, activists, and lawmakers to speculate that the new law could result in parents being charged with child abuse or neglect for not participating in their child’s transgenderism.
Parents, lawmakers, and activists said they were furious with California’s passing AB 957, and urged Newsom not to sign the bill.
Entrepreneur Elon Musk, a California resident, called AB 957 a “wolf in sheep’s clothing” and “utter madness.” Musk, who owns X, the social media app formerly called Twitter, is the father of a child who claims to be transgender.
Nicole Pearson, founder of the Facts Law Truth Justice, a law firm and civil rights advocacy group, described the legislation as “unconstitutional, unscientific, and cruel” in an interview with The Daily Signal:
AB 957 is illegal, unconstitutional, unscientific, and cruel, and will not stand. It does not define “affirmation,” rendering it impossibly vague for judges to apply and, thus, “void for ambiguity.”
It violates parents’ and guardians’ fundamental and constitutionally protected First Amendment rights to speak freely, be free from compelled speech, and exercise their religion because they will be forced, for example, to say they will affirm or to not say that they won’t, or that they believe their child needs alternate care, even if they do not believe it, just to maintain custody.
Similarly, it will deprive them of their Fourteenth Amendment right to direct the care and upbringing of their children, which has been safeguarded—without hesitation—by the U.S. Supreme Court for over a century.
Many speculate that Newsom vetoed the bill because he is attempting to appear less extreme as a potential presidential candidate. Erin Friday, a California attorney and co-leader of Our Duty, a parental rights advocacy group, says Newsom “only vetoed the bill because he seeks higher office.”
While we celebrate the governor vetoing this horrendous bill, we know that the Governor did not veto it for the sake of protecting parents and children. He continues to assert that children who are struggling with gender issues should be transitioned.
Newsom only vetoed the bill because he seeks higher office. Perhaps as the Governor fields the vitriolic outrage of the extreme left, it may dawn on him how unhinged those who want to force parents to either transition their gender-dysphoric kids or lose them.
Newsom did sign SB 407, which would prevent “LGBTQ foster youth” from being placed in homes in which parents don’t believe in LGBTQ+ ideology. In total, Newsom on Friday signed eight pro-LGBTQ+ bills, which dramatically increase California’s authority to require citizens to acquiesce to LGBTQ+ ideology.
Wiener criticized Newsom’s AB 957 veto, calling it “a tragedy for trans kids here & around the country.” He also claimed that “trans kids” are living “in fear,” accusing “right-wing politicians” of targeting and attempting to “erase [trans kids’] humanity.” Wiener provided no evidence to back up his accusations.
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