The proposed legislation in Washington state would authorize licensed youth shelters to refrain from disclosing to parents whether a minor under their supervision is undergoing a gender transition. Instead, these shelters would be permitted to notify the state authorities.
Last Wednesday, the state House passed a bill entitled "Supporting youth and young adults seeking protected health care services," which was introduced by six Democratic lawmakers. The proposed legislation would permit authorized youth shelters that provide accommodation to minors during the night to notify solely the Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) of the state, rather than the parents of the minor if the minor is pursuing or receiving safeguarded healthcare services.
The aforementioned legislation outlines that services that are safeguarded include assessments and interventions for gender dysphoria, hormone therapy that affirms gender identity, and surgical procedures that affirm gender identity.
According to a press release issued on April 13th, State Senator Marko Liias, D-Everett, stated that this legislation guarantees secure and stable shelter options for trans youth who may not be accepted at home.
The aforementioned legislation is presently being referred back to the state Senate for further deliberation and voting, after which it will be forwarded to the office of the Democratic Governor, Jay Inslee.
As per the extant legislation in the state of Washington, shelters are obligated to notify the parents of a minor that they are providing accommodation to the child, unless there exist compelling grounds to refrain from doing so, such as situations that suggest the child may be subjected to maltreatment or disregard by their parents. In the event of such a scenario, the Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) must be notified.
The Washington State Catholic Conference, an organization that speaks on behalf of the Catholic bishops in the state, has expressed concern that Senate Bill 5599 would weaken the fundamental bond between parents and their offspring. The organization has called on legislators to reject the bill.
As stated in the April 14 newsletter of the Washington Catholic Conference, the family is regarded as the foremost social institution in Catholic social teaching and therefore necessitates reinforcement and bolstering.
The legislative bill S.B. 5599 has the potential to weaken the foundation of familial relationships. The WSCC is in opposition to S.B. 5599, following the bishops' legislative agenda that prioritizes safeguarding children and families and upholding the sanctity of life.
The proposed legislation in Washington state stipulates that parental consent will remain a prerequisite for elective surgeries involving minors.
Washington State is among a group of states that are taking measures to safeguard minors' access to "gender-affirming" treatments. Conversely, states like Mississippi and Missouri are enacting measures to limit this practice.