Equality California
Bill to Modernize California Birth Certificate Passes Assembly and Moves to Governor’s Desk
Bill to Modernize California Birth Certificate Passes Assembly and Moves to Governor’s Desk  

CONTACT: Jim Faulkner, Equality California
PHONE: 323-936-1831 EMAIL: jim@outthinkpartners.com

Bill to Modernize California Birth Certificate Passes Assembly and Moves to Governor’s Desk

(Sacramento) Today, AB 1951, authored by Assemblymember Jimmy Gomez and sponsored by Equality California, passed the California Assembly by a preliminary bipartisan vote of 50-8 and now moves on to the Governor for a signature. The bill will modernize California’s birth certificate to reflect accurately the gender of a child’s parent or parents. The updated birth certificates will allow each parent to identify as mother, father or parent.

"Birth certificates reflect real rights and responsibilities, and it's important to have them reflect the progression of what defines family," said Rick Zbur, executive director-elect of Equality California. "Every child deserves a parent or parents who love them, and AB 1951 will ensure an accurate representation of the child's family.”

“California leads the way in the struggle for equality, and this bill ensures our institutions and laws are updated and accurately reflect our evolving society,” said Assemblymember Gomez. “AB 1951 acknowledges a same-sex parent and ensures a child’s parent or parents are able to make important decisions regarding health care, education, extracurricular activities and other critical needs.”

The current practice in completing a birth certificate limits the choices to birth mother and father, or to leave the father blank. Unfortunately, this practice forces same-sex parents to inaccurately place one partner’s name in the “father” or “mother” field.

AB 1951 requires the Department of Public Health to modify birth certificates to contain a line for the name of the parent of the child with boxes to choose “mother,” “father” or “parent,” allowing same-sex parents to accurately identify their relation to the child.

According to the 2010 Census, there are more than 15,000 same-sex couples with children in California, a number that is expected to grow dramatically after a Supreme Court decision returned the freedom to marry to California.

Birth certificates are widely used as identity documents for numerous purposes, including obtaining other forms of government identification, as well as proving age and identity for governmental and private programs and services. Confusion or inaccuracy about parental information on birth certificates can lead to denials or delays in obtaining vital documents or services.

Equality California (EQCA) is the largest statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender advocacy organization in California. For more than a 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 96 pieces of pro-equality legislation. EQCA continues to advance equality through legislative advocacy, electoral work, public education and community empowerment. www.eqca.org