FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 26, 2009
CONTACT: Vaishalee Raja, Equality California
PHONE: 916-284-9187 EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org
CONTACT: Darci Sears, Assemblymember Perez
PHONE: 916-319-2046 EMAIL: email@example.com
LGBT Domestic Violence Services Bill Passes Key Senate Health Committee
Sacramento - The LGBT Domestic Violence Services Bill took one step closer to becoming law when it passed the California State Senate Health Committee by a 7-3 margin yesterday. The bill, AB 1003, sponsored by Equality California (EQCA) and introduced last month by Assemblymember John A. Perez (D-Los Angeles) will increase and expand services to lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) survivors of domestic violence.
"There is a shortage of adequate care for our community," said Perez. "We must take whatever steps we can to ensure that all LGBT survivors of domestic violence have access to culturally competent services and resources. I hope the Senate joins the Assembly in passing this critical legislation."
Rates of domestic violence in same-sex relationships are equivalent to those in opposite-sex relationships. However, support for LGBT survivors continues to lag far behind those available to non-LGBT couples.
"We must do all in our power to ensure that LGBT survivors of domestic violence have access to culturally competent services and resources," said Geoff Kors, executive director of EQCA. "EQCA is extremely grateful to Assemblymember Perez for his leadership on this important issue as we move one step closer to making this important goal a reality."
The LGBT Domestic Violence Services Bill is designed to correct this inequity by expanding access for LGBT service providers to a state fund within the California Emergency Management Agency, which supports LGBT-specific domestic violence programs across the state. The fund, originally established as part of another EQCA-sponsored bill in 2006, is subsidized by a $23 fee on domestic partner registrations. The new bill also eliminates the requirement for providers to offer shelter -- an impediment to many smaller LGBT organizations that inadvertently keeps several California communities from providing any services for LGBT survivors of domestic violence.
The state Assembly passed the bill last month by a 44-17 vote. The bill now moves to the Senate floor for a full vote. To find out more information about EQCA's legislation, visit 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