FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 4, 2009
CONTACT: Vaishalee Raja, Equality California
PHONE: 916-284-9187 EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org
CONTACT: Darci Sears, Assemblymember Pérez
PHONE: 916-319-2046 EMAIL: email@example.com
State Senate Passes Bill Expanding Resources for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Survivors of Domestic Violence
Sacramento -- The California State Senate today passed AB 1003, which would increase and expand services to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) survivors of domestic violence. Sponsored by Equality California (EQCA) and introduced by Assemblymember John A. Perez (D-Los Angeles), the LGBT Domestic Violence Programs Expansion bill passed by a 23-15 vote.
"Equality California is committed to breaking the cycle of abuse and violent behavior that unfortunately can be found in some same-sex relationships, just as in heterosexual relationships," said Geoff Kors, executive director of EQCA. "Assemblymember Pérez' bill is designed to reduce domestic violence and provide greater resources for survivors."
While rates of domestic violence in same-sex relationships are equivalent to those in heterosexual relationships, support for LGBT survivors continues to lag far behind those available to non-LGBT couples.
Designed to correct this inequity, the bill expands 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 would also allow for more than four organizations to apply for programmatic funding each fiscal cycle and eliminates the requirement for providers to offer shelter -- impediments to many smaller LGBT organizations that inadvertently keep several California communities from providing any services for LGBT survivors of domestic violence.
"There is a shortage of adequate care for our community," said Assemblymember John A. Pérez. "We must take whatever steps we can to ensure that all LGBT survivors of domestic violence have access to culturally competent services and resources."
The bill now moves to the Assembly for a routine vote to concur in amendments made in the Senate.
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