Sen. Edwards’ Committee To Vote On “Sage’s Law” Next Week

As reported here, the GOP-led House of Delegates recently passed (50-48) HB 2432, a bill called “Sage’s Law” or the Child Protection Act. The bill, if passed into law, will require schools to inform parents if their child is identifying as another gender at school and clarify that parents will not be deemed “abusive” simply for affirming their child’s biological sex.

This proposed legislation was named after the Appomattox High School female student who first claimed to experience gender dysphoria but was eventually caught up in a horrific web of violence and abuse and only after a harrowing ordeal was finally allowed to return home.

Captured and held by a sex predator in Maryland, the FBI found and released Sage. However, a judge then ruled that, since her parents did not believe the assertion that their daughter was in fact a male, they were not suitable to get their daughter back.

Based on the judge’s decision, Sage was housed in the boys’ wing of a children’s home and was there sexually assaulted again. She managed to escape that nightmare but was soon sex trafficked again, and was finally liberated by law enforcement in Texas.

Later safe at home and reflecting on her period of confusion, Sage remarked: “I don’t know who I was. I’m a totally different person now. I never was a boy. Everybody was doing it, I just wanted to have friends.”

“Sage’s Law” is written to keep that horror from ever happening to a Virginia youth again.

Now that Cross-Over Day in the General Assembly is behind us, bills that have passed one house must now clear the second chamber in order to make it to Governor Youngkin’s desk to be signed into law. Since the 100-member House of Delegates is GOP-led and the 40-member State Senate is Democrat-led, passage of bills will require a certain level of bipartisanship.

In the event of a tied 20-20 Senate, Lt. Gov. Winsome Sears (R) casts the tie-breaker.

Next week the Democrat-controlled Senate Education and Health committee will be voting on “Sage’s Law.” Sen. John Edwards (D-Roanoke) sits on that panel and will thus supply one of the key votes that either advances the measure to the full Senate or else kills it in committee.

The Senate’s Democrat majority is led by Sen. Louise Lucas (D-Portsmouth). Claiming to be a “brick wall” to stop all GOP-supported initiatives, party pressure is to kill “Sage’s Law.” Therefore, Sen. Edwards risks Democrat ire if he votes for the measure. However, with redistricting and elections approaching this November, Sen. Edwards will need votes from Roanoke and Montgomery Counties and Salem that went for Youngkin by about a 2 to 1 margin over Democrat Terry McAuliffe. Since Youngkin garnered great enthusiasm with his parental-rights platform, Sen. Edwards risks alienating large numbers of voters if he bucks that platform by voting against the Child Protection Act.

According to the American Psychiatric Association, “In the upcoming fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), people whose gender at birth is contrary to the one they identify with will be diagnosed with gender dysphoria.

“For a person to be diagnosed with gender dysphoria, there must be a marked difference between the individual’s expressed/experienced gender and the gender others would assign him or her, and it must continue for at least six months. In children, the desire to be of the other gender must be present and verbalized. This condition causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.

“Gender dysphoria is manifested in a variety of ways, including strong desires to be treated as the other gender or to be rid of one’s sex characteristics, or a strong conviction that one has feelings and reactions typical of the other gender.

“Gender dysphoria will have its own chapter in DSM-5 and will be separated from Sexual Dysfunctions and Paraphilic Disorders.”

You can read more about Sage’s horrific experience and how Sage’s Law is designed to keep this from happening again to other Virginia youth in this report from the Federalist Society.

–Scott Dreyer

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