A far-right group is suing California Attorney General Rob Bonta over the law declaring California a sanctuary state for minors seeking gender-affirming care.
The suit, to be filed Tuesday by Advocates for Faith and Freedom, claims the law “violates the right of every parent in every state to direct the upbringing and care of their child,” according to Fox News, which obtained an advance copy of it.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 107 into law in September, and it went into effect January 1. It was passed in response to states enacting bans on gender-affirming care for trans youth, and it actually upholds parental rights.
It prohibits the release of information on a young person’s gender-affirming care in response to a criminal or civil action based on another state’s law that authorizes such actions. It also bars law enforcement agencies from knowingly arresting or extraditing someone based on another state’s law against providing, receiving, or allowing a child to receive gender-affirming care. It further bans the enforcement of a court order “based on another state’s law authorizing a child to be removed from their parent or guardian” for allowing the child to receive such care, as the bill states.
The suit from Our Watch, represented by Advocates for Faith and Freedom, contends that “SB 107 allows minors to obtain gender transition procedures like harmful puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and irreversible surgeries without parental consent, while denying parents access to their child’s medical information. The bill also allows California to exercise ‘emergency jurisdiction’ over minors seeking gender dysphoria treatment.”
There are instances in which parents may resist allowing their child to receive this care, but the care is always undertaken in consultation with medical professionals and parents or other adult guardians. And contrary to the assertion that these procedures are harmful, they are supported by the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and virtually every other major medical group. Genital surgery is not recommended for minors, but some undergo top surgery, while puberty blockers and hormones are life-enhancing and often lifesaving for trans youth, and their effects are largely reversible.
The suit further asserts, “SB 107 interferes with the parents’ right to control the important medical decisions of their children. Parents, not the government, are best suited to decide whether their child should undergo a life-altering and irreversible surgery that seeks to change the sex of the child.” However, the states that have enacted bans on this care for minors are placing government in the position of deciding what procedures a young person can undergo.
The lawsuit also argues that the California law violates the U.S. Constitution’s First and 14th Amendments because it “allows the ‘taking of the child’ away from his or her parents to California to obtain gender transition procedures” and the Constitution’s Full Faith and Credit Clause, “which requires California to defer to the laws and jurisdiction of the 49 other states regarding the care and custody of children.”
“SB 107 overrides the jurisdiction of courts in a family’s home state that are usually the proper forum for custody determinations by allowing California courts to take emergency jurisdiction to make custody determinations over a child struggling with gender dysphoria,” the lawsuit continues. “California has decided that its courts — not those of the family’s home state — should be the final arbiters of whether parents are fit to raise their child.”
The California law does “authorize a court to take temporary jurisdiction because a child has been unable to obtain gender-affirming health care,” as its text states. It additionally prohibits a court “from considering the taking or retention of a child from a person who has legal custody of the child, if the taking or retention was for obtaining gender-affirming health care or mental health care.”
Our Watch is led by Tim Thompson, lead pastor of 412 Church Temecula Valley in Southern California. A page on the church’s website details its opposition to same-sex marriage and LGBTQ+ identity, saying, “We believe that the human race was created as genetic male (man) and genetic female (woman) by a direct act of God; that marriage has been established by God; therefore, marriage is a sacred covenantal union between one man and one woman, for life. We also believe that legitimate Biblical sexual relations are exercised solely within marriage. Hence, sexual activities such as, but not limited to, adultery, fornication, incest, polygamy, homosexuality, transgender, bisexuality, cross-dressing, pedophilia and bestiality are inconsistent with the teachings of the Bible and the Church. Further, lascivious behavior, the creation, viewing and/or distribution of pornography and efforts to alter ones gender are incompatible with a true Biblical witness.”
The Advocate has sought comment on the suit from Attorney General Bonta and will update this story if we receive a response.