|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
October 2, 2012
CONTACT: Steve Roth, OutThink Partners
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Equality for LGBT Youth and Families Advances in the Golden State
Six Equality California Sponsored Bills Signed Into Law
(San Francisco) Equality California proudly announces six new important protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth and families with a clean sweep in the 2012 legislative season. All six EQCA bills passed the legislature, along with a Joint Legislative Audit Request, and all six were signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown.
"This year, we have ended dangerous psychological abuse masquerading as therapy; ensured a safer and more compassionate environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender foster youth; increased access to benefits for gay, lesbian and bisexual California veterans; helped keep LGBT seniors in their homes; given lesbian couples equal access to fertility treatments; and reaffirmed the religious freedom of clergy in performing marriages. These laws will make a lasting, positive difference for LGBT youth and families," said Clarissa Filgioun, Equality California board president. "We are grateful to Governor Brown for signing these six bills, and to so many individual legislators — Assemblymembers Tom Ammiano, Betsy Butler, Richard Pan and Nancy Skinner, Senators Ted Lieu and Mark Leno, and key champions like Speaker of the Assembly John Pérez — for their leadership in advancing a state of equality."
The new laws are:
SB 1172, ending the psychological abuse of minors under the guise of so-called "conversion therapy," written by Senator Ted Lieu;
AB 1856, written by Assemblymember Tom Ammiano, which creates cultural competency standards for foster caregivers of LGBT youth;
AB 1505, authored by Assemblymember Richard Pan, which provides California veterans discharged under Don't Ask, Don't Tell with assistance to obtain state benefits;
AB 1700, written by Assemblymember Betsy Butler, which reforms the tax code to keep LGBT seniors in their homes after the death of a partner;
AB 2356, written by Assemblymember Nancy Skinner, which removes unfair barriers to same-sex couples getting fertility treatments; and
SB 1140, written by Senator Mark Leno, which clarifies the right of clergy to make faith-based decisions in solemnizing marriages.
These six bills bring the total number of bills passed over the last decade by EQCA to 91, the most passed by any statewide LGBT advocacy group in the country.
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