FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 31, 2010
CONTACT: Vaishalee Raja, Equality California
PHONE: (916) 284-9187 EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org
Four Equality California Sponsored Bills go into Effect Tomorrow
Legislation expands fundamental protections and freedoms for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Californians
Sacramento – On January 1, four new Equality California sponsored bills will go into effect, advancing key rights and protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Californians.
“Each of these bills brings us closer to realizing our goal of achieving full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Californians,” said Jim Carroll, Equality California Managing Director. “In 2011, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Californians, especially LGBT and questioning youth will enjoy important new protections with greater equality and dignity under the law.”
The following legislation takes effect tomorrow:
Mental Health Services for At-Risk Youth (SB 543), authored by Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), enables at-risk youth to access mental health services without parental consent, which will help young people get the care they need before they are in crisis. Current parental consent requirements for mental health services create a barrier to treatment that is especially harmful to LGBT youth who may be put at risk of emotional or physical abuse by coming out to their parents prematurely or without support.
Repeal of Discriminatory Code, (AB 2199) authored by Assemblymember Bonnie Lowenthal (D-Long Beach) calls for the repeal of a section of the California Welfare and Institutions code that instructs the State Department of Mental Health to conduct research into the “causes and cures of homosexuality,” with the implication that lesbian, gay, and bisexual Californians are sexual deviants, potential sex offenders and a threat to children. The code, which was originally authored in the 1950s, implies that lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals can and should be cured, in direct contradiction with an enormous body of research that demonstrates otherwise.
Separation Equity Act, (AB 2700), authored by Assemblymember Fiona Ma (D-San Francisco) will amend the state's family code, allowing for couples who first registered as domestic partners and who legally married thereafter to dissolve both contracts through a single, uniform procedure. The current system forces couples to go through a separate process for each, which can take an extra one to two years for each case to be resolved and unnecessarily burdens the judicial system.
Unemployment Benefits Act (AB 2055), authored by Assemblymember Hector De La Torre (D-South Gate), ensures that same-sex couples in California have access to unemployment benefits. Currently, couples who are engaged to be married are eligible for unemployment benefits if one of the partners must leave his or her job in order to move closer to his or her future spouse. This bill would extend the same rights to couples who plan on entering into a domestic partnership. The bill is especially beneficial for same-sex couples because they are prohibited from legally marrying and therefore unable to receive these benefits.