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California bill would require foster parents to support “gender-affirming” care

Couple interview foster family

AnnaStills | Shutterstock

J-P Mauro - published on 05/18/23

The bill would require potential foster parents to demonstrate a knowledge of "the rights of LGBTQ+ youth" and sign a document pledging to uphold them.

A new California bill will require foster parents to agree to create a “supportive environment” for LGBTQ+ children in their care. The requirement to support their sexual identity includes seeking “gender affirming care” and gender transitioning procedures. The proposed legislation, which has yet to reach the Senate, has been opposed by California’s bishops, who warn that it would prevent many loving families from fostering children in need.

The bill was introduced by Senator Scott Weiner (D-San Francisco). Called SB 407, the bill states that it “would require a resource family to demonstrate an understanding of the unique needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or plus (LGBTQ+) and gender-expansive youth, and the capacity and willingness to meet those needs, as specified.”

The bill would require applicants to “demonstrate an understanding” of the rights of LGBTQ+ youth, as well as signing a document pledging to uphold them. 

On his website, Senator Weiner noted that there are 53,371 children in foster care in California, with an estimated 30% of them identifying as LGBTQ+. He wrote that the purpose of the bill is to prevent children from being placed in homes that are “hostile towards them.” 

On April 17, California Catholic Conference Executive Director Kathleen Buckley Domingo testified to a Senate Human Services Committee, on behalf of the state’s bishops. According to Angelus News, Domingo complemented the bill for seeking to provide loving homes for children, however she questioned if acceptance of LGBTQ+ ideals in itself made for an “excellent resource family.”

She noted that SB 407 would make the already limited number of resource families even smaller: 

“Why can’t there be many kinds of families loving children and providing safe, protective homes?” she asked, calling for “a solution in which people of faith, with deeply held beliefs about the nature of the human person and sexual integrity, can be and can remain excellent resource families to children in California.”

While SB 407 is still under committee review, it is likely to be approved to go to the Senate for a vote, which is expected to pass the bill.

While the bill will most likely pass, it is possible it will be struck down based on legal precedent from Philadelphia. Angelus News notes that a 2021 ruling on Fulton v. City of Philadelphia found that the city’s refusal to work with a Catholic foster agency unless they accepted same-sex couples was unconstitutional. 

Read more at Angelus.

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