Sacramento – Today, Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León announced that Senator Toni Atkins is the consensus pick of the Senate Democratic Caucus to succeed him as leader. The formal vote will be held in early January and the transition will be take place later in the year. Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur issued the following statement in response:
“Senator Toni Atkins is one of the LGBTQ community’s most respected and effective leaders and her upcoming election as the Senate President Pro Tem breaks multiple glass ceilings. Not only will she be the first woman to serve as leader of the California Senate, but Senator Atkins will also be the first LGBTQ person to serve in that role. This follows on her historic career in the Assembly where she became the first lesbian Speaker. Electing role models like Senator Atkins is important to the LGBTQ community because it sends a clear message to our community across the country, particularly LGBTQ youth, that LGBTQ people can achieve anything. By having a seat at the table, LGBTQ elected officials can speak with their colleagues with authenticity and first-hand experience on issues that affect our community.
In her legislative career, Senator Atkins has championed groundbreaking bills that have advanced LGBTQ civil rights such as SB 179 (Gender Recognition Act of 2017), SB 310 (Name and Dignity Act), AB 1577 (Respect After Death Act), AB 1211 (Transgender Name Changes, Birth and Death Certificates) among many others. In 2015, Equality California honored Senator Atkins with the Vanguard Leadership Award for her leadership and courage, which have inspired others to be more visible in their personal lives and active in their communities.
We congratulate Senator Toni Atkins for another historic achievement. We thank the members of the California State Senate for recognizing her extraordinary skill and leadership. We look forward to working with the incoming Pro Tem to achieve a world that is healthy, just, and fully equal for all LGBTQ people.”
Equality California is the nation’s largest statewide LGBTQ civil rights organization. We bring the voices of LGBTQ people and allies to institutions of power in California and across the United States, striving to create a world that is healthy, just, and fully equal for all LGBTQ people. We advance civil rights and social justice by inspiring, advocating and mobilizing through an inclusive movement that works tirelessly on behalf of those we serve. www.eqca.org