A Virginia legislator has proposed a bill that would add parents who refuse to affirm their child's gender identity or sexual orientation to the state's definition of child abuse and neglect.
Democrat Virginia Delegate Elizabeth Guzman told ABC affiliate 7News that she decided to introduce the bill after Gov. Glenn Youngkin's administration released guidelines limiting what teams transgender students can compete on and increasing the parental consent requirements for students who wish to change their name or preferred pronouns.
"If the child shares with those mandated reporters, what they are going through, we are talking about not only physical abuse or mental abuse, what the job of that mandated reporter is to inform Child Protective Services," Guzman said. "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."
When asked what consequences parents could face, Guzman said, "Well, we first have to complete an investigation. 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."
She also denied potential accusations that the legislation "is criminalizing parents," saying, "No, it's not. It's educating parents because the law tells you the do's and don'ts. So this law is telling you do not abuse your children because they are LGBTQ."
Guzman went on to say, when asked if the legislation infringes on religious beliefs, that "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."
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