A California state senator told a gathered crowd of parents at the California Senate Judicial Committee to flee the state on June 13 during a hearing on a bill which would put parents who don’t affirm their child’s “gender transition” in danger of child abuse charges.

Sen. Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, is one of the two lone Republicans on California’s Senate Judiciary Committee, and he has served in the California Legislature for 11 years. He was also the lone voice warning against language in AB 957, which a Democratic senator had amended on June 5 to rewrite the California Family Code to list “gender affirmation” alongside a child’s need for “health, safety, and welfare.”

I’m now in year 11 in the state legislature, and all the time we’re proposing policies to protect children. After 11 years, I’ve come to the conclusion that we need to start protecting parents.

That’s just not happening.

I’ve been here and witnessed a full frontal assault on charter schools, taking away parents’ choice in how their children are going to be educated to the detriment particularly of children of color.

In recent years, we have put government bureaucrats between parents, children, and doctors when it comes to medical care—and now we have [AB 957] where if a parent does not support the ideology of the government, [children are] going to be taken away from the home…

Wilk then targeted the statements of Democratic committee members who promised that AB 957 would only “give the judge more information.”

“In the past when we’ve had these discussions and I’ve seen parental rights atrophied—I’ve encouraged people to keep fighting,” the senator added. “I’ve changed my mind on that.”

“If you love your children, you need to flee California. You need to flee,” he said.

The panel of Democratic committee members all echoed their support for the bill, though some had concerns over the ambiguous description of “affirmation” and what it constituted.

Sens. Angelique Ashby, D-Sacramento, and Ben Allen, D-Hollywood, warned that failing to provide a definition of “affirmation” might cause trouble in California courts. “Work is needed on the bill,” Allen told the committee.

Rep. Lori Wilson, D-Suisun City, who authored the original version of AB 957, countered that “affirmation” was already clearly defined in other California law, that the ambiguous nature of the term was good to provide judges flexibility, and that no one should have difficulty defining “affirmation” as it’s a “plain language” word.

Though these reasons appeared at odds with one another, Democrats did not offer any further explanation, and all Democrats present voted “Yes” to pass AB 957 out of committee 8-1, with two absent.

“It’s about listening to our children, it’s about accepting them for who they are,” said Sen. Anna Caballero, D-Merced.

A wide range of residents testified against AB 957, far outnumbering supporting voices. While both sides presented two prepared witnesses, only 17 attending individuals voiced their support for the bill, and over 100 California residents testified against AB 957 (either in person or via phone calls broadcast to the Senate chamber).

Two parents brought forward harrowing testimonies about their experiences with raising children claiming to be transgender and voicing concerns over AB 957’s overreach.

Erin Friday, an attorney, mother of a girl who previously identified as “trans” at age 10, and leader of the “Our Duty” parental support organization, cited several legal issues with AB 957:

AB 957 is the first bill in the nation to codify into law that a parent who does not affirm the gender identity of the child is abusive. There is no nuance in this bill.

It matters not the age of the child, the absurdity of the identity adopted, comorbid mental health issues, or persistence.

Family court judges will be compelled to favor the [parent] who will affirm the child’s delusion.

Abigail Martinez shared the heartbreaking story of losing her daughter to transgenderism.

It has been three years and 164 days since I lost my daughter Yaeli. I miss her every single day, let me tell you how she died: My daughter was murdered by gender ideology.

CPS took my daughter when she was 16 years old. It was helped by her public school counselor, an LGBTQ group, and another trans-identified girl.

My daughter was taken from her loving home because the State of California claimed I was abusive for not affirming her trans identity. I lost my daughter over a name and pronouns—even after I promised to call her a male name. It wasn’t enough.

My daughter was not a boy trapped in a girl’s body. She had mental health issues.

Against my consent, my daughter was given testosterone instead of therapy. The LGBTQ group used her to raise money for them…

Martinez finished in tears, sharing the details of her daughter’s suicide as a result of destroyed mental health.

She pleaded with the Senate Judicial Committee: “I beg you, stop pushing gender ideology. I don’t want any parent to feel what I feel every day. Affirmation is not good for the health, safety, and welfare of any child.”

Senator Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, appeared to ignore the concerns from parents across California and the country. He claimed that opposition to the bill was “erasing trans kids,” and that coverage of AB 957 was a “coordinated campaign by right-wing media.”

He further claimed that this “campaign” was meant to serve a “narrative” criticizing the fact that a gay man had introduced a bill.

Wiener lamented that some on social media had been sharing pictures of him at an LGBTQ+ parade and castigated those who voiced disagreement with the bill for what he claimed was “an attack on gay and lesbian kids.”

He further claimed that 99% of all individuals who transition do not regret their transition, after which a parent in the room shouted, “You’re a liar.”

AB 957 will go before the Democrat-controlled California State Senate for a vote, and if passed, will return to the Democrat-controlled State Assembly for a final vote before possibly making its way to Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk.

This article has been corrected to reflect that AB 957 is a bill, not law.

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