LGBT Californians Make Legal Strides
Wednesday Oct. 7 marked a big day for LGBT Californians; Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed into law four bills that protect same-sex families, LGBT students and many more.
Each of the four bills targets a different flaw in existing law:
- AB 959, authored by Assemblymember David Chiu (D), requires certain state health and social service agencies to collect sexual orientation and gender identity data from those they serve. Advocates say this will stop the erasure of queer folks from demographic records and ensure the LGBT community is being adequately served.
- AB 960, also authored by Chiu, protects parental rights for same-sex couples who undergo assisted reproduction.
- AB 827, authored by Assemblymember Patrick O'Donnell (D), requires the State Department of Education to ensure teachers have adequate resources to help LGBT youth who face bullying or other safety issues in school. Queer youth have a higher dropout rate than their peers, due in part to the social exclusion they face.
- SB 703, authored by Senator Mark Leno (D), prohibits businesses contracting with the state from denying benefits to workers based on their gender identity, protecting transgender Californians from discrimination.
"We are deeply grateful to both Gov. Brown and the legislators who authored and got these bills passed," said Rick Zbur, executive director of Equality California, a co-sponsor of all four bills. "California continues to lead the nation recognizing and protecting LGBT people as fully equal members of society thanks to their leadership."