California has frequently been a battleground for socially divisive issues, spanning from immigration to taxation. Once again, it finds itself at the center of a significant debate, this time centered around parental rights and gender identity.
Assembly Bill 957, brought forward by Assembly Member Lori Wilson and coauthored by Senator Scott Wiener, instructs courts to take into consideration whether or not a parent agrees with a child’s subjective view of their gender identity when awarding custody.
At its essence, the bill tells judges that when making decisions about what is in the ‘best interests’ of a child in custody disputes, the court will take into account whether parents have shown support for and ‘affirmation’ of their child’s gender identity and expression.
It was passed in the California Senate on September 6th and passed in the Assembly on September 8th.
The radical bill has drawn fire from critics who accused the California government of encroaching on parental rights. Should it be enacted, parents risk losing custody of their children if they do not entirely support their child’s subjective gender identity.
Another cause for concern is the lack of clarity within the bill. Given the absence of a precise definition for ‘affirmation,’