FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 1, 2009
CONTACT: Vaishalee Raja, Equality California
PHONE: 916-284-9187 EMAIL: email@example.com
CONTACT: Kristina Wertz, Transgender Law Center
PHONE: 415-865-0176 EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org
California Legislature Approves Equal ID Act
EQCA-sponsored bill expands rights for transgender people born in California
Sacramento -- Today, the California State Senate joined the Assembly in passing the Equal ID Act by a 22-14 vote. The bill, AB 1185, sponsored by Equality California (EQCA) and introduced by Assemblymember Ted Lieu (D-Torrance), expands legal protections for transgender people born in California. If signed by the Governor, the new law would allow qualified transgender people born in California to return to the county of their birth and obtain a court order reflecting their correct gender and an accompanying name change, if applicable. 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. "This measure would allow transgender people in California and beyond a greater ability to obtain accurate identification, apply for jobs and live their lives as full and equal members of society. We urge the Governor to sign the bill with haste."
The Equal ID Act grants all transgender people born in California access to accurate birth certificates. The bill ensures that transgender people born in California 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 and beyond, allowing them for first time to petition the court in their home counties.
"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 (TLC), citing the recent case of Somers v. Superior Court, successfully litigated by TLC, in which a California appellate court ruled it unconstitutional to deny a transgender person born in California the ability to petition California courts for a legal gender change. "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."
In the U.S., 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 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 him or herself."
The bill now moves to Governor Schwarzenegger's desk. Once enrolled, he will have 12 days to act on the legislation. To find out more information about other EQCA--sponsored legislation, visit http://www.eqca.org/legislation.
Equality California (EQCA) is the largest statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual and 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. http://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. http://www.transgenderlawcenter.org