California Gov. Gavin Newsom has vetoed bill AB 957, which would have required courts, when deciding on child custody or visitation rights, to consider a parent’s affirmation of their child’s gender identity.
Christian and other conservative groups had roundly criticized the bill, and many had expected the liberal governor to sign it after it passed the State Assembly and State Senate along party lines.
The bill prompted Sen. Scott Wilk (R-Santa Clara) to state in June: “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.”
Elon Musk commented on X (formerly Twitter): “What it actually means is that if you disagree with the other parent about sterilizing your child, you lose custody. Utter madness!”
And Chloe Cole, who underwent hormonal treatment and transgender surgery as a teen before detransitioning, said: “California’s AB-957 forces a parent to ‘affirm’ their child in their delusion/false identity. This is state mandated child abuse.”
Ultimately, Newsom vetoed the bill in spite of his support for most LGBTQ-friendly legislation. “I urge caution,” he wrote, “when the Executive and Legislative branches of state government attempt to dictate—in prescriptive terms that single out one characteristic—legal standards for the Judicial branch to apply. Other-minded elected officials, in California and other states, could very well use this strategy to diminish the civil rights of vulnerable communities.”
Newsom added that existing state law already requires courts to consider a child’s health, safety and welfare when determining the best interests of a child in custody matters.
Some observers attribute the veto to possible presidential aspirations on Newsom’s part.
“As Democratic operatives and voters fantasize about ways to get President Biden and VP Harris off the ticket, it seems Governor Newsom is putting himself in a position to run,” said Meg Kilgannon, Family Research Council’s senior fellow for Education Studies. “He may think that this veto will make him seem reasonable on the gender issue. But he has already signed so many bills that put LGBTQ+ activists first, parents last, and children in danger—this one veto hardly comes close to making up for his attempt to redefine the family.”
Photo: Jana Asenbrennerova/Alamy Stock Photo