By: Julie Barrett, Founder, Conservative Ladies of Washington
On September 22, 2023, California Governor Gavin Newsom vetoed AB 957. This bill would have allowed the courts to rule against a parent in a custody battle if they are not “gender affirming.” It was an egregious bill – a complete assault on parental rights. A veto was very good.
In his letter regarding the veto, he says: “under existing law, is required to consider a child’s health, safety, and welfare when determining the best interests of a child in these proceedings, including the parent’s affirmation of the child’s gender identity.” California didn’t need AB 957 because their laws already allow the courts to accomplish the goal of that bill.
When I read Newsom’s letter, I remembered the “coercive control” bill passed in Washington state in the 2022 session and wondered if California might have a similar law in effect. This Washington bill adds “coercive control” to the definition of domestic violence in Washington state. This bill, HB 1901, is over 100 pages long and there were a number of reasons we and many other groups opposed it. And yes, California had passed a similar bill during their 2020 session. Coercive control added to domestic violence laws, while it can be very beneficial for victims, it can also be twisted to twist loving parents with boundaries into “domestic violence abusers”, subject to court action. This “catch-22” is often the case in much of the legislation we see today – they took a policy that is provides protection, while at the same time perverting it against the nuclear family.
What is “coercive control”:
Coercive control is an abuser’s pattern of behavior that causes a victim to suffer physical, emotional, or psychological harm and is used by the abuser to control the victim. Examples of coercive control include intimidation or threats of harm against the victim, children, family members, or pets; destroying or threatening to damage property; abusing technology through cyberstalking, surveillance, distributing intimate images and commandeering social media accounts; brandishing firearms to intimidate; financial exploitation; abusive litigation; and several other forms of harassment. Research shows that coercive control is a widespread form of domestic violence that too often goes unrecognized. House Passes Goodman Bill to Add “Coercive Control” to Definition of Domestic Violence – Roger Goodman (wa.gov)
In today’s culture, coercive control can be applied to a parent who is not “gender affirming.” If the parent refuses to allow a child to have access to so-called “gender affirming care”, under coercive control, it could be considered abuse. Under this law, a parent is monitoring or withholding a child’s access to social media or extra-curricular activities could be considered abusive by the courts.
Representative Roger Goodman, prime sponsor of the bill said: “Domestic abuse is not just physical, but also emotional and psychological. With this important change in the law, survivors will have greater protection from abusers whose pattern of coercive control can cause even more trauma than physical harm. It is well past time that our laws accounts for this completely unacceptable and dangerous behavior.”
Senator Chris Gildon proposed an amendment to the bill to protect parents and families who have deeply-held religious beliefs about gender and sexual orientation. The amendment was NOT adopted, therefore, the courts would not be able to take into account a parent’s faith when ruling on coercive control.
Buried in this 100+ page bill is a clause where the petitioner of the domestic violence protection order (DVPO) could ask the court to require the respondent to surrender their firearms without any notification. So much for “guilty until proven innocent.” You can lose your constitutional right to own a firearm without so much as notification…and you haven’t done anything wrong. Representative Brad Klippert proposed an amendment that would have removed the clause about removing firearms without notice. As with every other reasonable amendment, Klippert’s was not adopted and the clause remains in the bill signed into law.
Every legislative session, the democrats build upon existing laws to strengthen and expand them. With the rise of the transgender movement, Washington and other radical deep blue states have been working very hard to ensure that they will be able to criminalize parents and anyone who doesn’t “fall in line” with their agenda.
Citizens must start paying attention to the laws being made by elected officials. Parents, especially, need to be aware of these laws so they can protect their families from government control and overreach. The people who have been elected in Washington (and many other states) have no regard for the constitution. They don’t care if they are passing unconstitutional laws – there’s nothing you can do about it anyway (in their minds)! Consider how much time, money and effort would be required to challenge the plethora of unconstitutional laws made in a state like Washington. Next to impossible.
You need to understand the laws you’re living under. You have a duty and responsibility to participate in your government.