California and Oregon are among the states that have already passed or advanced legislation allowing them to take over for parents of gender-confused children, and now the state of Washington is poised to do the same.
Brad Payne of the Family Policy Institute of Washington explains that some nearby states have banned irreversible "gender-affirming" treatments for minors, so lawmakers in Washington wanted to provide a "safe haven" for kids who run away from home in order to obtain abortions or mutilation surgeries.
Last week, the state House followed the Senate's lead and passed SB 5599 to eliminate a law that requires youth shelters to alert parents when their child checks in, unless there is evidence the child is being abused. The proposal will widen the scope of what constitutes a "compelling reason" to conceal a minor to include youths seeking mutilative operations or "reproductive health services."
"We've made sure that law enforcement is not able to return them back to their homes," Payne relays. "We have allowed medical practitioners -- not only physicians, but others -- to be able to perform transgender mutilation procedures without any ramifications, even if there's injuries acquired during the surgery or the procedures."
Meanwhile, the parents will be prohibited from contacting their runaway children.
Payne laments that he can see no short-term solution, so the strategy is in the long haul.
"A lot of the liberal parents are responsible for voting these crazies into office, and we've got to outnumber those," he submits. "I think we have numbers to be able to get more conservatives into office, but we typically have shown a huge deficit in the number of Christian parents that are voting."
The bill's author, state Senator Marko Liias (D), claims that puberty blockers and "gender-affirming" procedures have "been proven to lower rates of adverse mental health outcomes, build self-esteem, and improve the overall quality of life for transgender and gender diverse youth."
In support of his claim, he cites a Biden administration "fact" sheet that draws on data from transgender activist groups like the Trevor Project. But research increasingly shows that while people may feel a slight mood boost when they begin taking hormones, most of those gains disappear within a few years.
Nevertheless, Governor Jay Inslee (D) is expected to sign the bill into law by the end of the week.
The bill making its way through the California Legislature is similar; it would, among other things, allow children as young as 12 to be put into LGBTQ+ group homes without their parents' consent or knowledge.
Late last month, lawmakers advanced AB 665 -- a measure that Greg Burt of the California Family Council says amounts to "state-sanctioned kidnapping." Even school counselors could send children straight to a group home.
"Most of the kids in group homes, these are the kids who can't even exist in a foster care situation," Burt details. "So you have them involved with drugs and cutting, and a lot of these kids are being trafficked by human traffickers."
Proponents claim the measure, which authorizes minors to "consent to mental health treatment or counseling," will help prevent suicides among youth, particularly blacks and Hispanics. But Burt is not convinced. He says anyone concerned about the safety of children must draw "a line in the sand."
"This is like a parent's worst nightmare," he recognizes. "Parents and teachers and pastors -- they've got to make a loud objection to this. We can't just sit back and let this happen."
But he fully expects the measure to clear the California Senate and go to Governor Gavin Newsom's desk for his signature.