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AB 957: Family Law and Gender Identity

Status: to the Governor, awaiting his signature

Action: Call the Governor’s Office TODAY!

AB 957 would require the court to consider the views of each parent on the topic of gender identity affirmation when making a ruling in child custody proceedings.

Bill: AB 957 – Family Law: Gender Identity

Author: Wilson (D)

Position: Strongly OPPOSE

Current Status

AB 957 was passed from the Assembly and has now been sent to the Governor for his signature.

The wording in this bill was amended and it looks like an attempt at the “definition” of affirmation listed below:

(B)As used in this paragraph, the health, safety, and welfare of the child includes a parent’s affirmation of the child’s gender identity.

(B) As used in this paragraph, the health, safety, and welfare of the child includes, among other comprehensive factors, a parent’s affirmation of the child’s gender identity or gender expression. Affirmation includes a range of actions and will be unique for each child, but in every case must promote the child’s overall health and well-being.

This new wording doesn’t make this bill more clear or provide a definition for “Affirmation”.

To see the updated status of this bill and follow along with the outcome, visit our Bill Tracker page linked below:

Summary of Concern

AB 957 deals with custody disputes for a child. Under current law the case of a family made up of a husband, a wife and a child, where the husband and wife are fighting over custody of that child, then a judge is assigned to determine the outcome of that custody dispute. 

While there are already codes and rules in effect to govern a judge’s decision in the event of a custody arrangement, AB 957 requires an extra step in the judge’s decision making process, and it involves the beliefs of the parents regarding the gender identity of their child. Looking at the two parents, the judge must consider a variety of things but the judge must under 957 specifically consider, according to AB 957, what the parents’ perspective is on their child’s gender identity. 

The key issue with AB 957 is that the court is to take the beliefs of the parent into consideration when the court is determining who gets custody of the child. First let’s look at the context of what’s happening here and what this bill actually does. Then we can look at how this would ultimately end up impacting things in the future. 

In the event of a custody arrangement you have parents of a child that are arguing over custody. Here, you already have a situation where there’s a family mixed up with the court because of a divorce or because they were never married. A family problem is already present, it’s not just a family that is suddenly taken to court and the child is up for grabs. Here we’re talking about a situation where the parents are already in court fighting over a child. 

That’s where AB 957 comes in.  It requires the judge to take into consideration the parents’ beliefs about the gender identity of their child. In this case we already have a very sad situation  but this bill makes it a requirement for the judge to consider whether or not each parent ultimately agrees with the child about their gender identity. 

Now this could play out as a disaster in terms of further negative effects on a family that was never  functional. Practically speaking, because of this bill, the judge is required to consider these things because the authors of this bill want to promote non-traditional or non-biblical gender identity values. 

When we look at this issue, we have to recognize that there are several significant threats going on here. First there is the threat to  biblical gender. Then identity principles, biblical family principles, and the issue of parents being in agreement about the concept of what gender is and what family is.

We need to recognize that this bill is dealing with an issue that’s already been in court. It’s dealing with messy family situations that have already caused trouble. Interjecting this new legal requirement into the judge’s opinion when granting custody of a child, will only make it worse.It will have long-term issues, especially with other family situations.

While it doesn’t immediately impact the average healthy family, just like other bills there is a trajectory here where the government can and will interject their presence and authority onto a family or parent-child relationship. They say the government has power over what a parent should believe, teach their child, or enforce in their own home in terms of biblical principles, or biblical values specifically relating to gender, gender identity, gender roles, definition of family, or definition of man and woman. 

The whole picture here is problematic because the government is inserting its own worldview into the relationship between parents and children. Essentially they are saying, ‘parent if you do not agree with the government on these gender identity and family principle issues then you shall not be in the same position of authority over your child as you would be if you did agree with us. We will strip your authority from you and give it to whom we see fit.’ This sets up a trajectory of separating the authority of a parent from their children because of a differing view or belief between a parent and the Government. This is extremely dangerous, anti-biblical, and anti-God. 

This bill allows the government to take the responsibility and authoritarian position over any family situation. It creates a new mess by telling the people of California that the governmental view is the best view, most important view, or the ruling view. That is dangerous for everybody, As it will not stop with this issue or in California for that matter. This kind of bill is already popping up in other states too. For example,  Washington has already passed legislation dealing with foster children. 

To protect the family unit and parental authority we need to voice our opinions on this bill and state what God says about this issue. If we don’t, any set  line will be continually pushed back. We need to stand firm on Christ’s word and speak the truth about these issues.It matters. We need to recognize that the trajectory here is dangerous. We need to recognize that we need to take responsibility and voice what is true because it’s been left out of the discussion. We need to do our part in both getting involved in elections and getting involved in the legislative process, ensuring that the truth is heard. We need to engage in the culture around us and speak the truth.