FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 27, 2006
Contact: Dannie Tillman, Director of Communications & Coalitions, Equality California
Phone: (323) 817-8875 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
EQUALITY CALIFORNIA UNVEILS MOST COMPREHENSIVE LEGISLATIVE SLATE FOCUSED ON ACHIEVING LGBT EQUALITY
Eight Bills Sponsored by Equality California Will Ensure that California Remains a Strong Proponent of Equality
Sacramento, CA – Equality California (EQCA), California’s statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights advocacy organization, announced today that it will sponsor eight bills in 2006 to strengthen protections for LGBT people in areas ranging from education to elections. Four new bills will be introduced in both houses of the legislature while Assembly Bills 606, 1160 and 1207 advance to the Senate.
“Equality California is moving forward with its most ambitious legislative agenda ever in an election year because we have seen that taking a stand for equality helps rather than hinders those seeking office,” said Geoffrey Kors, Executive Director of EQCA. “We are pleased that so many legislators are partnering with EQCA to advance protections for the LGBT community. If passed into law, these bills would render California the crown jewel of the nation in terms of equality and fairness for all.”
Senate Bill 1437, authored by Senator Sheila Kuehl (D-Santa Monica) and sponsored by EQCA, would amend the Education Code to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in text books, classroom instruction, and school-sponsored activities. By protecting LGBT youth from negative stereotyping in their own, required, educational materials, SB 1437 would promote a safe and respectful environment in California schools.
Assembly Bill 2800, the Omnibus Housing Nondiscrimination Act, authored by Assemblymember John Laird (D-Santa Cruz), would standardize various housing-related nondiscrimination provisions in California law to make them consistent with the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). FEHA prohibits discrimination in housing on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, disability, sex (including gender identity), marital status, sexual orientation, familial status and source of income. AB 2800 is the third bill in a series of successful nondiscrimination bills authored by Assemblymember Laird and sponsored by EQCA to strengthen major sections of the California Code and clarify that people are protected from discrimination regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Assembly Bill 2920, authored by Assemblymember Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), would amend the Mello-Granlund Older Californians Act, which sets forth the state’s commitment to its elder population who are served by programs administered by the California Department of Aging. The bill would add LGBT seniors to the list of groups that have a need for social services in the state.
Senate Bill 1441 (Kuehl, D-Santa Monica) would prohibit discrimination on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity in state operated or funded programs. The bill would also include protections for any person associated with a person who has, or is perceived to have, any characteristic covered by the bill.
Assembly Bill 2051, authored by Assemblymember Rebecca Cohn (D-Saratoga), would establish the Equality in Prevention and Services for Domestic Abuse Fund, a continuously appropriated fund to develop and support education and services specific to LGBT domestic violence. The bill would levy a nominal fee on individuals registering as domestic partners in order to support a variety of initiatives, including an educational brochure on LGBT domestic abuse to be distributed along with domestic partnership certificates, grants to support shelters that serve LGBT victims of domestic abuse, and LGBT-specific trainings for law enforcement and domestic violence service providers.
Three other EQCA-sponsored bills have already passed in the Assembly and will now advance to the State Senate. AB 606, the Safe Place to Learn Act (Levine, D-Van Nuys), a bill that would require school districts and the Department of Education to comply with California’s existing laws regarding anti-discrimination in schools, earned a 45-32 vote on the floor of the Assembly. AB 1160 (Lieber, D-San Jose), the Gwen Araujo Justice for Victims Act, addresses the use of the so-called “panic” strategy in trials for brutal crimes, and received a 45-32 vote on the Assembly floor. AB 1207 (Yee, D-San Francisco), a bill that seeks to enhance the Code of Fair Campaign Practices to prevent negative appeals based on sexual orientation and gender identity, was passed by the Assembly by a 43-29 margin.
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.
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