Equality California

2002-2004 Press Releases


Contact: Geoffrey Kors, Executive Director, 415-626-3722

Steve Hansen, Legislative Advocate, 916-554-7681


Assembly Speaker Nunez to be Joint Author of Equality California Legislation by Assemblyman Leno

SACRAMENTO– Today, after historic success, Equality California announced that its Marriage License Non-Discrimination Act would be held until December in an attempt to build further support for the legislation.  Authored by Assemblymember Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), the California Marriage License Non-Discrimination Act was co-authored by more than 20 legislators with the members of the LGBT Legislative Caucus serving as joint authors.  The legislation gained a broad range of support from many organizations (Listed Below).

Underscoring the gains that have been made is the fact that Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez, who supports the legislation, today announced that he would be joining the members of the LGBT Legislative Caucus as a joint author of the bill signaling his commitment to pass this legislation during the next legislative session.

“The progress made during the past few months towards marriage equality has been remarkable,” said Geoffrey Kors, Executive Director of Equality California. “The public debate has shifted dramatically from whether lesbian and gay couples should receive any legal recognition to how that recognition should be provided.  The impact of the marriages performed in San Francisco after Mayor Gavin Newsom ended discrimination in the issuance of marriage licenses cannot be underestimated.  The images of gay and lesbian couples and the reporting of the very real discrimination families suffer due to discrimination in marriage laws moved the debate forward. Thanks to the leadership of Assemblyman Leno, California is now poised to become the first state to end marriage discrimination against same-sex couples through the legislative process in 2005.”

Introduction of the Marriage License Non-Discrimination Act had a significant impact on legislators beyond the growing support they are indicating for the legislation.  On Monday, for the first time ever, every democrat in the Assembly voted in favor of legislation providing legal protections based on sexual orientation and gender-identity when Equality California’s Employment and Labor Non-Discrimination Act (AB 2900) by Assemblymember John Laird was passed by the California Assembly.

“The continued effort to ensure marriage equality, and the education about the impact of discrimination that is occurring as a result, has resulted in growing support for all LGBT civil rights issues,” Kors explained.  “A number of legislators who did not support legislation to amend the Fair Employment and Housing Act to prohibit employment discrimination based on gender identity last year voted to support this bill which expands those protections to all of the employment and labor codes in California.  Unfortunately, every Republican member voted against this bill continuing their record of opposing every attempt to provide even the most basic of rights and protections to LGBT Californians. 

The Marriage License Non-Discrimination Act seeks to return California’s marriage laws to their pre-1977 state when they were gender neutral.  The Legislature changed the law to only allow opposite sex couples to marry after being informed by county clerks that same-sex couples could obtain marriage licenses as the law then existed.

“California’s Marriage Law is likely the only remaining law enacted by the legislature that affirmatively targets a group of Californians for discriminatory treatment,” Kors said.  “We made incredible progress towards returning California to its historical definition of marriage this year and ending this affirmative discrimination.  We are very optimistic about passing this bill in 2005 as we will never settle for anything less than equality.”

AB 1967 Joint Authors: Assembly Members Leno, Goldberg, Kehoe, Laird, and Lieber

AB 1967 Principal Coauthor: Senator Kuehl

AB 1967 Coauthors: Assembly Members Chan, Dymally, Firebaugh, Hancock, Koretz, Levine, Longville, Montanez, Nation, Oropeza, Simitian, Steinberg, Wesson, Wiggins, and Yee; Senators Escutia and Speier

Official List of Organizations in Support (per California State Assembly, as of May 19, 2004):

American Civil Liberties Union

American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees

Asian American Legal Center of Southern California

Asian Americans for Civil Rights and Equality

California Council of Churches and California IMPACT

California National Organization for Women

California Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi

California Safe Schools Coalition

California Secretary of State Kevin Shelly

California State Controller Steve Westly

California State Employees Association

California State Treasurer Phil Angelides

California Teachers Association

Charles M. Holmes Campus of the Center

City of West Hollywood

Congregation Kol Ami

Eleanor Roosevelt Democratic Club, Orange County

Equality California (Sponsor)

Family Law Section of the Los Angeles County Bar Association

Freedom to Marry Coalition of California

Gay & Lesbian Alliance of the Central Coast

Gay & Lesbian Alumni of Notre Dame

Golden Gate Lutheran Church

Immigration Equality

Lambda Legal

Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center    

Marriage Equality California

Metropolitan Community Church, Los Angeles

Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund

National Center for Lesbian Rights

Our Family Coalition
PFLAG | Central Coast Chapter
PFLAG | Danville/San Ramon
PFLAG | Los Angeles
PFLAG | Mid-Pacific and Southern Pacific Region

PFLAG | Oakland-East Bay

PFLAG | Orange County

PFLAG | Pasadena

PFLAG | Sacramento

PFLAG | San Diego County
PFLAG | San Francisco

PFLAG | San Jose Peninsula
PFLAG | Ventura County 

Pride at Work, Southern California

San Francisco AIDS Foundation

San Francisco Labor Council, AFL-CIO

San Francisco LGBT Community Center

SEIU International Union Local 525 and 535

Silver Lake Neighborhood Council

Stonewall Democratic Club of Greater Sacramento

Tenderloin Housing Clinic

The Center Orange County

Transgender Law Center

Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministry California

United Church of Christ, Northern California Nevada Conference

University Lutheran Chapel

West Hollywood Presbyterian Church


Founded in 1998, Equality California is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, grassroots-based, statewide advocacy organization whose mission is to ensure the dignity, safety, equality and civil rights of all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Californians.  Equality California is one of the largest and fastest growing statewide LGBT organizations in the country.  We can be contacted through our website at www.eqca.org.

  • #Commit2Equality

    Marriage is just one stop on the long journey to full and lasting equality. What do you commit to?

Featured Publication