|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
August 23, 2012
CONTACT: Steve Roth, OutThink Partners
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Senate Approves EQCA-Backed Bill to Ensure Equal Treatment of LGBT Veterans, Families
(Sacramento) The California Senate today approved on a 32-1 vote a bill sponsored by Equality California designed to remedy inequities faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) service members discharged under Don't Ask, Don't Tell and its predecessor policy banning military service by LGBT people. Assembly Bill 1505, authored by Assemblymember Richard Pan and co-sponsored by Equality California and Sacramento Valley Veterans, will help connect LGBT veterans with resources to upgrade their discharge status and receive better access to state veterans benefits such as home loans, college tuition fee waivers, and preference for civil service examinations.
“Under Don't Ask, Don't Tell, our nation's LGBT service members and their families made tremendous sacrifices, but without the support and recognition afforded to the families of other service members,” said Clarissa Filgioun, Equality California Board President. “While the repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' is an important victory for the LGBT equality movement, we have much more work to do to right the wrongs inflicted on LGBT service members under this discriminatory policy and even worse policies that preceeded it, and we are incredibly grateful to Assemblymember Pan for recognizing this need and leading way on behalf of LGBT veterans.”
“'Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell' was repealed because of the growing understanding that not only do our lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender military service members have the right to serve openly, but that our country is safer when they do,” said AB 1505 author Assembly Member Richard Pan. “Making sure these veterans, who have always been an important part of our armed forces, receive the honor and benefits they deserve is an important step towards equality.”
To learn more about Equality California-sponsored legislation, visit, www.eqca.org/legislation.
Equality California (EQCA) is the largest statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender advocacy organization in California. Over the past decade, Equality California has strategically moved California from a state with extremely limited legal protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people to a state with some of the most comprehensive human rights protections in the nation. Equality California has partnered with legislators to successfully sponsor more than 85 pieces of pro-equality legislation. EQCA continues to advance equality through legislative advocacy, electoral work, public education and community empowerment. www.eqca.org