California courts’ custody decisions must consider whether a parent affirms a child’s “gender identity or expression.” This emerges from a law passed by the California legislature on Friday.
The California Assembly passed House Bill 957 on Friday by a vote of 57-16, with several Democrats not voting, KCRA 3 News reported. The state Senate passed the bill on Wednesday by a vote of 30-9, with all Republicans voting against the bill. Gov. Gavin Newsom is expected to sign the bill by the legislative deadline of Oct. 14.
The term “gender” now means more than just biological sex. It now has the connotation of a social role that allows boys to identify with or behave like girls and vice versa. Gender identity now includes categories such as transgender and non-binary.
“The endorsement will include a range of measures and will be unique to each child, but in each case must promote the child’s overall health and well-being,” the California bill states.
Gender confirmation would, among other things, become a factor in granting custody as part of concern for a child’s health, safety and welfare. Other factors include parental abuse and the amount of contact a child has with their parents, the Associated Press reported.
Rep. Lori Wilson, a Democrat who introduced the bill, said gender affirmation could mean a child can play with toys related to their gender identity, have their nails painted or have their hair the way they want could wear length.
There are no specific requirements for supposedly gender-affirming surgeries, which minors in California can only undergo with parental consent.
California law already prohibits custody courts from considering the sex, gender identity, gender expression or sexual orientation of a parent, guardian or relative when determining the best interests of a child.
The California Catholic Conference rejected the bill.
“We strongly support parents in affirming the goodness of their children and compassionately caring for children with gender dysphoria,” a legislative report on its website says. “We are concerned that this bill pits custody rights against loving, caring parents for whom there is insufficient data to justify it.”
The Catholic conference said the bill would “elevate the failure of a loving, caring parent to a child’s social or medical transition to the same level as abuse, violence or drug use in the eyes of the court for custody disputes and parenting time.”
“Rather than driving a wedge between children and parents, it is in children’s best interests to encourage parental communication and involvement,” the analysis says.