A contentious bill, AB 957, authored by Assemblywoman Lori Wilson (D-Fairfield), is set to be heard by the California Assembly Judiciary Committee on March 21 at 9 am (PT).
The bill, which aims to encourage state judges to favor parents who affirm their child’s transgender identity in custody and visitation rights cases, has sparked a heated debate on parental rights and the role of government in family matters.
AB 957 proposes to sway judges towards removing custody rights from parents who do not affirm their child’s self-determined transgender identity or parents who oppose medical treatments for transgender children, such as puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and surgeries.
The bill also calls for family courts to disregard parents’ objections to a minor’s legal request for a change of gender and/or name on government documents.
Critics argue that AB 957 is an attack on parental authority, as it would potentially undermine a parent’s right to make decisions about their child’s well-being.
They believe that parents, not the government, should have the final say in what is best for their children.
“This bill is a direct attack on parental rights and parental authority. Parents, not the government, should have the right to determine what is best for their child,” according to Real Impact, a Christian watchdog group whose aim “is to educate, equip, and encourage Christians to have a godly influence on our society and culture.”
“Current law allows parents to object to their child’s legal request for a change of gender and/or name on government documents. AB 957 will force family courts to ignore the parents’ objections and rule in favor of the minor’s request,” the group explains.
With the committee not allowing phone testimony, Real Impact is urging concerned citizens to contact the Assembly Judiciary Committee members and encourage them to vote “No” on AB 957.
Citizens can also use the group’s message form to contact their California State Assemblymember and request them to vote against the bill.