FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 21, 2009
Transgender Law Center
Equal ID Act Passes California Assembly
Bill to Make Identification Change More Accessible for Transgender Persons
Sacramento -- The California Assembly passed the Equal ID Act today by a vote of 41-26. The bill, sponsored by Equality California (EQCA) and introduced by Assemblymember Ted Lieu (D -- Torrance), increases the legal rights and recognition enjoyed by transgender people by clarifying that qualified transgender people born in California can return to the county of their birth to obtain a court order reflecting their correct gender and accompanying name change. The court order is then used to obtain a corrected California birth certificate.
"All Californians deserve legal documentation that accurately reflects who they are," EQCA Executive Director Geoff Kors said. "Thanks to the work of Assemblymember Lieu and the Transgender Law Center, transgender people both in California and beyond will have a greater ability to obtain accurate identification, apply for jobs, and live their lives as full and equal members of society."
Until recently, California law only allowed transgender persons to petition the court for an order recognizing a change of gender in the county in which they presently reside. Last month, the Transgender Law Center successfully challenged the residency requirement in the California Court of Appeals. In Somers v. Superior Court, the court held that the residency requirement violated the equal protection rights of California-born transgender people residing out of state. The Equal ID Act is the next step in ensuring that all Californians are able to obtain accurate birth certificates.
"The Equal ID Act would bring the Health and Safety Code up to date with case law," said Kristina Wertz, Legal Director of the Transgender Law Center. "It would alleviate any confusion and ensure that California-born people residing in other states know that they, too, can be afforded the dignity of a birth certificate that reflects who they truly are."
The new bill ensures that transgender people born in California know that they can return to the county of their birth to obtain a corrected birth certificate. It also provides greater access to transgender persons living in the state, allowing them for first time to petition the court in their home counties.
"The rights of Californians should not end at our state's borders," Assemblymember Leiu said. "The Equal ID Act makes certain every Californian has the freedom and liberty to be true to his or herself."
Birth certificates are used as primary source of identification and are often necessary to secure other forms of identification, including social security cards and passports. The bill was first heard by the Assembly Judiciary Committee last month, where it passed by a 7-3 vote.
The bill now moves to the Senate.
More information about EQCA's other legislation: www.eqca.org/legislation http://www.eqca.org/legislation.
Equality California (EQCA) is the largest statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender-rights advocacy organization in California. In the past decade, EQCA has strategically moved California from a state with extremely limited legal protections for LGBT individuals to a state with some of the most comprehensive civil-rights protections in the nation. EQCA has passed over 50 pieces of legislation and continues to advance equality through legislative advocacy, public education and community empowerment. www.eqca.org
The Transgender Law Center (TLC) is a civil rights organization advocating for transgender communities. TLC uses direct legal services, education, community organizing, and advocacy to transform California into a state that recognizes and supports the needs of transgender people and their families. www.transgenderlawcenter.org