A Conference Week Surprise

PRF President Michael Ramey speaks in Asheville, NC, Sept. 23, 2023.

On September 20-23, I had the privilege of representing the Parental Rights Foundation to the National Leaders Conference of the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), held in Asheville, North Carolina.

While I was there, we saw a surprising, even miraculous turnaround on a dreaded California bill.

The conference is important to our mission because it puts us in front of not just homeschool families but homeschool leaderssome of the most politically active and engaging parents in the country. When the homeschool movement gets fired up about something, they make their voices heard and make things happen.

(Many of you are among them and know what I’m talking about first-hand!)

I am encouraged by the people I meet at this conference each year, and this year was no exception.

Now, I don’t want to name names and risk scaring away new volunteers or network points. But I have cause to hope that we will see legislative action in two new states within the next couple of years and strengthen our efforts in a third. That could spell positive changes for literally millions of families in the months just ahead!

Trouble in California

While all of that was going on, we were closely watching California Assembly Bill 957 (AB 957), a measure that would put a very heavy thumb on the scales of any custody battle in favor of the parent who will affirm their child’s transgender ideation. 

Parents should not be coerced, at the threat of losing their children, into adopting a state-sanctioned ideology on gender, sex, or any other issue.

Yet, over our written protests to legislative committees, this summer the bill passed both the Assembly and the Senate and went to the governor’s desk for his signature.

Last week, I signed a coalition letter with several other organizations urging the governor to veto the bill, as it infringes on the right of parents to make decisions regarding the treatment of their child’s mental and physical health. 

As we signed our letter, we were resigned to the idea that Newsom, a proponent of the transgender movement, was not likely to listen to us.

We Saw a Miracle

Yet, in a surprising move, Governor Newsom vetoed the bill last Thursday, before our letter could even be sent.

Nathan Pierce of California’s Family Protection Ministries was at the HSLDA conference with me, so we were able to rejoice together in person over this miraculous turn of events. 

AB 957, a terrible bill even by California standards, died on the doorstep, vetoed by a radical anti-family governor. Who would have imagined?

I believe we are on the right side of this issue. I believe it is morally imperative that we preserve the parent-child relationship for this and future generations. It is the natural and right thing to do.

And, while the Parental Rights Foundation is not a religious organization, I personally believe there is a God who superintends all of creation and who will bless our efforts in amazing ways if we are faithful to stand up for what is right.

I believe He swayed the heart of Gavin Newsom in ways even Newsom himself may not understand, and I believe He will bless our efforts in the states in the months ahead.

You do not have to share my beliefs about God to stand with us. But I am grateful for the beliefs we do share: that natural bonds of affection lead parents to act in the best interest of their child; that the vast majority of parents can be trusted to do the best for their children; and that parents have the fundamental right to direct the upbringing, education, and care of their minor children.

At the risk of over-using the term, I believe we saw a miracle in California last week. I may have met a few miracles in Asheville, as well. And I am looking forward to seeing how many more miracles we will witness in the days ahead.

Thank you for being with us on this exciting journey!