Critics also claim the legislation removes parents from the health and mental health care decision-making process. Unlike other legislation recently signed in large public events by Inslee, SB 5599 was signed in a small closed event in a conference room at the Washington State Capitol.
Introduced by far-left Democratic State Sen. Marko Liias, the bill will allow shelters or host homes to provide housing for runaway minors without being required to notify their parents if they have a “compelling reason” to keep the information a secret.
According to the legislation, a compelling reason means the youth is in the host home or seeking placement in a host home to receive protected health care services. SB 5599 allows shelters to contact the Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) instead of the parents should the child be seeking an experimental sex change or reproductive services.
The bill does not require proof of abuse in the household nor even an allegation of abuse. As a result, merely seeking protected health care services is enough of a reason to keep the runaway’s location hidden from parents and clears the way for children between the ages of 13 and 18 to stay at these facilities without their parents’ knowledge for an indefinite time while seeking services related to gender dysphoria and gender transitioning.
Republican legislators voted unanimously against the bill.
In 2019, Democrats passed similar legislation allowing minors to receive gender-affirming care without parental consent but the minors were still subject to parental oversight.
Senate Republican Leader John Braun, in a statement when the bill first passed, “Children between the ages of 13 and 18 can already access these same health and mental health services under Washington law, without their parents’ permission. The only thing SB 5599 would do is cause harm by driving a wedge between vulnerable kids and their parents, at a time when a teen lacks the perception and judgment to make critical life-altering decisions.”
Braun also said, “A parent may not even know why the child ran away and could involve law enforcement or other groups in a desperate search – all the while going through an unnecessary emotional nightmare, imagining the worst about what might have happened. It’s also wrong how this bill would also apply to children from other states who may travel thousands of miles for services not available to them at home. Unless there is reason to suspect parental abuse or harm, parents deserve to know where their teenagers are.”
Braun added, when “SB 5599 received a hearing before the Senate Human Services Committee on Feb. 6, more than 4,700 people signed in with an opinion on the bill – and 98 percent were opposed, including parents from the LGBTQ community.”
“Democrats have claimed many times that the brains of minors are not fully developed until age 22. Right now, they are sponsoring a juvenile offender sentencing bill [Senate Bill 5475] based on ‘the expansive body of scientific research on brain development, which shows that adolescents’ perception, judgment, and decision-making skills differ significantly from that of adults. “It’s revealing how brain research matters to them when juveniles break the law, but not when they seek life-altering, potentially irreversible health care,” Braun concluded.
Liias said in a statement, “We know that young people experiencing homelessness are exposed to dangerous and harmful outcomes. That is why we must take every step we can to ensure their safety. This legislation ensures that our trans youth have safe options and access to secure, stable shelter when they may not be welcome at home.”
Republican Rep. Jacquelin Maycumber said during the debate in the Legislature, “We’re saying that the State of Washington, under this underlying policy, can take this child and not contact the parents with no signs of abuse, with no pending case of abuse, and the foster system not involved, I’m a little confused Mr. Speaker.”
Republican Rep Jim Walsh said in a statement, “Among its many flaws, the bill assumes families that don’t ‘affirm’ a child’s short-term desires are being abusive. Wrong! Sometimes love requires parents to not affirm their child’s whims. Loving parents guide their children as they grow. Sometimes that means saying ‘no.’ During floor debate, we heard the tired old cliche that ‘it takes a village to raise a child.’ That’s false. That notion has resulted in exploding crime rates, homelessness, and rising teen suicide rates in Washington. Enough. Parents are the primary stakeholders in their children’s upbringing; not the government.”
Democrats passed the legislation despite over 4,700 people, 98 percent in opposition, testifying on the bill.
One former transgender youth testified against SB 5599, sharing her experience as a sexual-assault survivor and her concern about the effects of the bill on vulnerable children, saying, “In the short term, I might have felt better having medically transitioned. Despite feeling better in the short term, the medical transition would have profoundly damaged me, potentially even more than the sexual assault [that caused her gender dysphoria].”
While testifying against AB 665, Erin Friday, co-founder of the parent group Our Duty, called the bill “state-sanctioned kidnapping.”