He's running: Newsom vetoes California's All Your Children Are Belong to Us bill

AP Photo/Susan Walsh

Call this the ultimate in California Friday-night news dumps. After Democrats in the Golden State made it a top priority to punish parents in custody disputes for not complying with a child’s professed “gender identity,” the state legislature voted in overwhelming fashion for AB 957 and passed it along to Gavin Newsom.


They got blindsided by the governor last night:

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday vetoed Assembly Bill 957, which lawmakers passed earlier in September. The Assembly approved the measure and sent it to the governor’s desk on a party-line vote of 57-16.

In a veto message, Newsom urged caution that the bill’s approach could be used “to diminish the civil rights of vulnerable communities.”

“Moreover, a court, 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,” Newsom’s message read. “For these reasons, I cannot sign this bill.”

Needless to say, this seems a bit … curious. If Newsom didn’t want the bill to land on his desk, he could have opposed it openly before the state assembly and senate cast their votes on it. A competent governor in a state where his party has supermajorities in the state legislature would have been able to keep such a bill from coming for a vote at all.

In fact, that’s exactly what Newsom did with another All Your Children Are Belong To Us bill this same week. LGBTQ advocates had pushed a proposal that would prevent school districts from informing parents about their children’s “gender identity,” after a handful of school districts defied AG Rob Bonta and instructed schools to inform parents about such “identity” claims.  Politico reported on Thursday that Newsom had quietly told the legislature to kill that effort:


Another factor in the decision was input from Newsom’s office, according to two members of the LGBTQ Caucus who were granted anonymity to speak about internal discussions.

The lawmakers said the caucus had been divided between two factions: One that favored quick action and another that wanted to take a more measured approach.

That’s when Newsom’s office intervened. Chief of Staff Dana Williamson and Legislative Affairs Secretary Christy Bouma held a conference call with leaders of the LGBTQ Caucus about pausing their effort, according to the two legislators who spoke on condition of anonymity and were briefed on the call. Days later, lawmakers opted to shelve the bill.

Newsom’s office sent a statement to Politico:

“It’s imperative we turn down the noise of the culture wars and approach this topic with grace and humility. The administration is proud to be working with the LGBTQ Caucus to ensure thoughtful policy solutions that uplift our state’s most vulnerable communities, protect children, and empower parents and families.”

Uh huh. The need to “turn down the noise” could come from the potential backlash already brewing in California, as parents get more and more alarmed at the authoritarian nature of Democrats and their arrogation of parental authority. That hasn’t stopped Democrats from pressing the point, however, nor had it daunted Newsom last year when he signed legislation that made the state a “sanctuary” for minors seeking sex-change surgeries and therapies. Remember SB 107?


Governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill last night empowering state courts to remove out-of-state children from their parent’s custody if those children come to California because they can’t get sterilizing transgender drugs and mutilating surgeries in their home states or because their parents object to these experimental treatments for gender dysphoria.

Bill author Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) is characterizing SB 107 as a bill to make California a safe haven for parents who want to transition their children medically, but are forbidden to by their home states. Yet Newsom, Wiener, and the mainstream media are ignoring the section of the bill that enables children to be kidnapped and enticed to the state against their parents’ wishes and against the court custody determinations and laws of other states.

Newsom didn’t seem too worried about “turning down the noise” almost exactly a year ago, did he?

So why now? Newsom isn’t running for governor again, thanks to term limits on governors elected after 1990, and SB 107 was arguably worse than AB 957. The only real explanation is that Newsom has begun worrying about his national standing rather than his standing among California voters. One cannot run for president while positioning one’s self as Terry McAuliffe on meth when it comes to seizing control of children from parents. This turnabout clearly wasn’t about principles; it was about political repositioning to claim some sort of ‘centrist’ position … from the progressive perspective, anyway. Newsom’s statement to Politico sounds like something along the lines of Nice children ya got there, shame if anything happened to your authority over them.


And the only reason to make even that concession is if Newsom plans to run for president. The head-spinning reversal on parental rights prompts that question, but also another: Does Newsom know something about 2024 that the rest of us don’t?

Addendum: The legislature could override Newsom’s veto on AB 957. Let’s see if they try.

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