Four Pieces of Equality California-Sponsored Legislation Go to Governor Brown’s Desk

Four bills that Equality California sponsored during the 2014 legislative session are now before Gov. Jerry Brown, one of which was EQCA’s 100th piece of legislation to pass in the California Legislature. That bill, AB 2501 by Assemblymember Susan Bonilla, would eliminate the so-called “gay panic” and “trans panic” defenses, outrageous tactics used by defendants who claim their violent acts were triggered by the victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity. It is the first measure of its kind in the nation, as are the other three bills now awaiting Governor Brown’s consideration.

Another important piece of legislation Equality California sponsored this year, AJR 50, authored by Assemblymember Richard Bloom, recently passed on the Senate Floor with a 32-0 bipartisan vote. AJR 50 urges President Barack Obama to compel the Department of Health and Human Services and Food and Drug Administration to adopt modernized blood donor policies that do not discriminate against men who have had sex with other men.

“Each one of these pieces of legislation helps move us closer to full and lasting equality for all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in California,” said Rick Zbur, EQCA executive director. “Our sponsored legislation in 2014 protects and improves the lives of LGBT people from cradle to grave, and we’re grateful to the outstanding legislators who carried each bill.”

Equality California’s 2014 legislation would:

Modernize birth certificates: AB 1951, authored by Assemblymember Jimmy Gomez, modernizes California birth certificates by allowing parents to choose to self-designate as “father,” “mother” or “parent,” eliminating inaccurate designations and confusion for same-sex parents.

Provide LGBT cultural competency for health care providers: AB 496, authored by Assemblymember Rich Gordon, clarifies that existing cultural competency training for health care providers should include discussion of LGBT issues.

End the “panic” defense: AB 2501, Assemblymember Susan Bonilla, eliminates the so-called “gay panic” and “trans panic” defenses, outrageous tactics used by defendants who claim their violent acts were triggered by the victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

Encourage Respect After Death: AB 1577, the Respect After Death Act, authored by Speaker of the Assembly Toni Atkins and cosponsored by the Transgender Law Center, would make sure death certificates for transgender Californians accurately reflect their authentic, lived identity.

End discrimination in blood donor procedures: AJR 50, authored by Assemblymember Richard Bloom, urges the President to be an agent of change so that FDA blood donation eligibility policies will be based on modern scientific research and findings rather than archaic assumptions and fears.

Last week, EQCA celebrated its 100th piece of passed legislation when the California Assembly approved AB 2501. For more than a decade, EQCA has successfully partnered with legislators to sponsor more legislation improving the lives of LGBT people than any other statewide LGBT organization, strategically moving California from a state with extremely limited legal protections for LGBT people to a state with some of the most comprehensive human rights protections in the nation.

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 more than 100 pieces of pro-equality legislation. EQCA continues to advance equality through legislative advocacy, electoral work, public education and community empowerment. www.eqca.org