A Democrat in the Virginia House of Delegates has announced plans to reintroduce legislation that would criminalize parents who don’t affirm their children’s preferred gender identity.
Elizabeth Guzman (D-Woodbridge)—who represents House District 31, which includes portions of Prince William and Fauquier counties—first introduced the measure as House Bill 580 in 2020.
Following Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s announcement last month of a new policy that supports parents’ rights when it comes to transgender identity and their children, Guzman said she was compelled to reintroduce her bill aimed at “protecting” children who identify as LGBTQ from their nonaffirming parents or guardians.
The proposed legislation would expand the state’s criteria for child abuse and neglect to include “mental injury” caused by parental dissent of a child’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
“The day that Governor Youngkin wanted to implement this policy, I immediately texted the policy lead of that committee and said, ‘This is how we’re going to push back,’” Guzman told Washington’s WJLA-TV.
She said her bill is designed to “help” parents “go by what the Bible says” about gender ideology and homosexuality.
“The Bible says to accept everyone for who they are,” Guzman said, in spite of the fact that there is no such verse in the Bible. “We all have a commitment to God. And for those believers out there, we know that there’s life after life, and there is going to be a conversation between that person and God and that’s what we’re after—to go by what the Bible says. It is not my job to judge anyone. It is my job to help people.”
But Attorney General Jason Miyares, a Republican, has vowed to defend parents’ constitutional rights.
“The far Left doesn’t seem to understand that Virginia parents want to be involved in their children’s lives,” Miyares told The Daily Signal. “This is just another attempt to replace the role of parents with the government. Families have the right to raise children, not the state. This seems to be another entry for the ‘Woke Olympics.’ As your attorney general, I’ll always protect the constitutional rights of parents.”
William Estrada, president of the Parental Rights Foundation, said on a recent broadcast of Washington Watch that Guzman’s bill would authorize “a social worker to go on a fishing expedition, to find a judge who might not like the decisions that a parent makes, and to potentially rip apart a family.”
Guzman’s proposal has drawn backlash inside and outside of Richmond. “The goal of Democrat lawmakers in Virginia is to criminalize parents who are trying to be involved in their children’s lives,” said Youngkin. On Twitter, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) called the idea “utterly horrifying,” and Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee) described it as “unthinkable.” Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) called Guzman’s idea “nuts” and called on the federal government to defund all “diversity, equity, and inclusion” programs promoting the underlying gender ideology.
Meanwhile, just weeks ahead of the 2022 midterm elections, even Guzman’s Democrat colleagues have publicly rejected her proposal yet again.
The top-ranking Democrat in the Virginia House, Minority Leader Don Scott Jr. (D-Portsmouth), called Guzman’s bill “a distraction and an unnecessary one,” promising he would consider her ideologically driven revenge “dead on arrival.” U.S. Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Virginia.) also said, “I don’t support this legislation,” because “it’s unclear how this proposed legislation intends to actually help transgender children and their families.”
Still, Estrada contends that Guzman’s past experience as a social worker makes her legislation especially disconcerting amid a wave of LGBTQ activists clamoring to remove children from homes with parents who hold Biblical views on gender and sexuality.
Most notably, California Gov. Gavin Newsom—a Democrat who’s considered by some as a 2024 presidential contender—recently signed a law allowing his state to take “temporary emergency jurisdiction” away from the parents if “the child has been unable to obtain gender-affirming health care or gender-affirming mental health care” including hormones or surgery in an attempt to alter a child’s biological sex.
Photo: Renee Enna/TNS/Newscom