A California legislator is urging parents to flee the state in light of a bill that would rewrite child custody laws to favor a parent who "affirms" the identity of a transgender-identifying child.
The bill, AB957, passed the state Senate Judiciary Committee last week, but not before committee member and Sen. Scott Wilk, a Republican, issued a dire warning. Wilk opposed the bill.
"In the past when we've had these discussions, and I've seen parental rights atrophied, I've encouraged people to keep fighting," Wilk told the committee. "I've changed my mind on that – if you love your children, you need to flee California. You need to flee. We are moving towards the pathway of The Handmaid's Tale."
The bill would amend state law so that courts could consider a parent's beliefs about transgenderism when deciding what is in the child's best interest. The bill, if passed and signed into law, would apply to child custody battles following a divorce.
"In making a determination of the best interests of the child," a court shall consider "the health, safety, and welfare of the child," the bill reads.
"As used in this paragraph, the health, safety, and welfare of the child includes a parent's affirmation of the child's gender identity," the bill says.
Wilk said he agrees with the bill's supporters that it will apply only to divorce proceedings. But he added, "I can assure you it is not going to end with divorce proceedings."
California's leftward trend, the senator said, troubles him.
"It just breaks my heart," he said. "I'm born and raised in this state. I love this state. I'm not going to stay in this state, because it's just too oppressive. And I believe in freedom and so I'm going to move to America when I leave the legislature."
The bill is now scheduled to go to the state Senate before it heads back to the Assembly, where a slightly different version previously passed, according to the California Family Council.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Justin Sullivan/Staff
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.