- The Washington Times - Friday, October 14, 2022

Rep. Abigail Spanberger is under fire after campaigning with a fellow Democrat who wants criminal charges against Virginia parents who don’t support their child’s transgender identity or sexual orientation.

Ms. Spanberger, who is locked in a tough reelection bout in Virginia against Republican Yesli Vega, hit the campaign trail with state Del. Elizabeth Guzman this week. Ms. Guzman is spearheading legislation to expand Virginia’s definition of child abuse and neglect to include parents who don’t affirm their child’s gender identity or sexual orientation.

Republicans said the association with Ms. Guzman revealed Ms. Spanberger to be a “woke” radical.

“Abigail Spanberger is campaigning with woke radicals that don’t believe in parental rights and want parents jailed because Spanberger agrees with these insane policies,” said Camille Gallo, spokeswoman for the National Republican Congressional Committee.

Ms. Spanberger responded by saying she opposed the legislation.

“I don’t support this legislation, and it does not have a path forward in the General Assembly. It’s unclear how this proposed legislation intends to actually help transgender children and their families, which is what we should focus on,” she said.

Ms. Guzman promoted a recent get-out-the-vote event with Ms. Spanberger and another Virginia Democrat, Sen. Tim Kaine.

“Due to legislation in recent years, you don’t need a reason to vote early!” Ms. Guzman tweeted.

Under Ms. Guzman’s bill, parents suspected of being anti-LGBTQ with their children would be subjected to an investigation that could result in a felony or misdemeanor charge. Ms. Guzman said her bill was a way to support LGBT youth, not a way to criminalize parents.

“It’s educating parents because the law tells you the dos and don’ts. So, this law is telling you do not abuse your children because they are LGBTQ,” Ms. Guzman told WJLA in Washington.

Ms. Guzman introduced the bill in response to a directive by Gov. Glenn Youngkin, a Republican, requiring students to categorize transgender children by their biological sex when using restrooms, locker rooms and other gender-based facilities.

The policy also seeks to bar students from adopting a new name or pronouns without parental permission.

• Mica Soellner can be reached at msoellner@washingtontimes.com.

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