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Assemblymember Chris Holden Propels Gender Identity Bill Forward, Parents Could Lose Custody

Democratic lawmaker from Pasadena advocates for removing parental rights in child custody considerations.

Chris Holden (D-Pasadena) recently voted yes on California's controversial Assembly Bill 957, also known as the gender identity law, which passed the state Assembly’s second reading and now moves on to a third on the floor for a vote. The bill includes a parent's affirmation of their child's gender identity or gender expression as a consideration for determining child custody and visitation in contested proceedings.

Assemblymember Holden's support of the bill underscores its fundamental proposition: a parent's affirmation of a child's gender identity or expression could be pivotal in custody disputes.

Essentially, a parent could lose custody of their child for not affirming their child’s gender identity.

Presently, the court determines custody based on the child's best interests, taking into account factors such as health, safety, and welfare. The proposed legislation, however, introduces a new factor into this evaluation—the parent's support and affirmation of their child's gender identity or expression—as part of the comprehensive consideration of the child's welfare.

Even California Governor Gavin Newsom ended up vetoing the bill.

As specified in the bill, “the health, safety, and welfare of the child includes, among other comprehensive factors, a parent’s affirmation of the child’s gender identity or gender expression. Affirmation includes a range of actions and will be unique for each child, but in every case must promote the child’s overall health and well-being.”

Assemblymember Holden is not just advancing progressive legislation at the state level; he is also in the political fray at the local level. Currently running against incumbent Los Angeles Supervisor Kathryn Barger for a seat on the LA Board of Supervisors in 2024, he has pledged to continue his mission of “pursuing progressive solutions” if elected.

In a previous conversation with the LA Sentinel, Holden laid out his track record: “I’ve advanced progressive policies that have impacted Californians’ lives such as expanding educational equity, improving workplace conditions, protecting reproductive and LGBTQ+ rights, and delivering millions in state funding for the Metro Gold Line, public libraries, hiking trails, and our beloved Rose Bowl and Pasadena Playhouse. The challenges we face need to be more urgently addressed. It’s time for Democratic leadership with a proven track record of getting things done for our County.”

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