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Virginia lawmakers to introduce legislation criminalizing a parent’s refusal to affirm their child’s transgender identity


“The radical left marches on in their quest to destroy the parent-child bond. This bill is unlikely to pass, but rest assured, the idea of investigating parents and taking their children away because they refuse to bow down to a delusional ideology will not stop in the Old Dominion.”

Virginia lawmakers plan to introduce legislation that would broaden the definition of child abuse to include a parent who refuses to affirm a child’s transgender identity, with the bill’s lead sponsor claiming that the Bible supports the bill.

Quick Facts

The tension between parental rights supporters and LGBT advocates continues to intensify after Virginia legislators stated that they would introduce legislation to criminalize as child abuse a parent’s refusal to affirm their child’s gender identity.

In response to school policies that hide children’s gender transitions from parents, Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin has put in place a model policy that would block schools from leaving parents out of the discussions that school officials have with their children regarding sexuality. Delegate Virginia Guzman, D, however, is pushing for a law that would criminalize a parent’s refusal to affirm their child’s gender transition, a law she says is in direct response to Youngkin’s policy.

“The day that Gov. 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 WJLA.

While Youngkin’s proposed policy may be what spurred her desire to introduce the current bill, it’s not the first time Guzman has introduced the idea. In 2020, she and four other Democrat legislators introduced a bill that defined “abused or neglected child” as one whose parent “inflicts, threatens to create or inflict, or allows to be created or inflicted upon such child a physical or mental injury on the basis of the child’s gender identity or sexual orientation.”

It is expected that Guzman will reintroduce that same bill or one that is similar.

“If the child shares with those mandated reporters what they are going through, we are talking about not only physical abuse or mental abuse [sic] what the job of that mandated reporter is to inform Child Protective Services (CPS). And then that’s how everybody gets involved. There’s also an investigation in place that is not only from a social worker but there’s also a police investigation before we make the decision that there is going to be a CPS charge,” said Guzman, a social worker.

When asked what the consequences could be for parents, Guzman answered, “It could be a felony, it could be a misdemeanor, but we know that CPS charge could harm your employment, could harm their education, because nowadays many people do a CPS database search before offering employment.”

Guzman claims the bill doesn’t criminalize parents, but educates them, saying that the law “tells you the do’s and don’ts.”

Guzman was asked how she responds to concerns about free speech and religious freedom, such as Muslim or Catholic parents who do not want to affirm LGBT orientation or gender identity. Guzman said,

“The Bible says to accept everyone for who they are. So that’s what I tell them when they asked me that question, and that’s what I will continue to tell people. You know, 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.”

Guzman claimed the bill won’t agitate parents because she and its sponsors haven’t seen any opposition to it.

Ian Prior, executive director of Fight For Schools, tweeted, “Guzman claims not to be criminalizing parents but to be ‘educating them’ and that ‘we haven’t seen any parents come against it.’ Oh, you will be seeing that @guzman4virginia”

Nicki Neily, president and founder of Parents Defending Education, wrote that if Guzman “gets her dangerous legislation passed, Virginia parents could be facing FELONY charges for ‘refusing to affirm their child’s gender identity.’ This is a full blown assault on parental rights, and families will NOT stand for it.”

Nowhere does the Bible say to “accept everyone for who they are.” What the Bible does say, in Jeremiah 17:9, is that “The heart is more deceitful than all else, and is desperately sick; Who can understand it?”

The Bible also says, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2).

And what the Bible says about “who we are” is that we are made in the image of God and that we are created male and female (Genesis 1:27). Nonetheless, due to the fall of man, we are sinners whose minds have been twisted. Transgenderism is the opposite of accepting who you are; rather it is marring the image of God, it is an attempt to change the way God made you, and it denies the sinfulness both of sexual rebellion and man’s heart.

Finally, the Bible very clearly says that God gave children to parents, and He gave to those parents the authority and responsibility to love, raise, discipline, and steward their children.

By contrast, progressives have made their hatred for parental rights painfully obvious. Parents who hold to a morality that challenges the desires of statist politicians and LGBT advocacy groups are seen as an obstacle. The left would love nothing more than to be able to threaten parents into compliance and to place their children with foster parents who agree with the state’s doctrine.

Parents have tried to make their voices heard on these issues, but radical progressives just don’t care.

Guzman claims that she has heard no opposition to the bill, but she certainly knows that it was parents, both Democrat and Republican, who were so angry at school boards who ignored their concerns, so fed-up with the woke indoctrination of their children, and so outraged at the FBI’s targeting them as potential domestic terrorists that they elected Youngkin to the governorship solely because he promised to restore their parental authority and rights.

Still, the radical left marches on in their quest to destroy the parent-child bond. This bill is unlikely to pass, but rest assured, the idea of investigating parents and taking their children away because they refuse to bow down to a delusional ideology will not stop in the Old Dominion.

Parents everywhere must stand up against this onslaught and put executives and legislatures on notice that, as the Supreme Court has ruled time and again and as the Bible has clearly ordered, they, the parents, get to decide what’s best for their children — not power-hungry politicians and state-run schools.

Ready to dive deeper into the intersection of faith and policy? Head over to our Theology of Politics series page where we’ve published several long-form pieces that will help Christians navigate where their faith should direct them on political issues.

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