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California Governor Jerry Brown Extends Minority Provisions To LGBT Business Owners

BrownCalifornia Gov. Jerry Brown has signed into law a historic bill that will result in new opportunities for certified businesses owned by LGBT people, reports SDGLN.com.

Brown is known for his pro-LGBT advocacy. Last week, he outlawed the "gay panic" defense in court. In August, he signed a bill that will provide unprecedented protections for transgender students in California.

The new law means that starting in 2015, public utilities in the state will be required to extend to LGBT certified business owners existing provisions already granted to those owned by ethnic minorities, women, and disabled veterans.

The law - which came about through testimony and advocacy by the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) - is believed to be the first bill of its kind in the United States. It defines an “LGBT business enterprise” as one that is at least 51% owned by an LGBT person or persons, or, in the case of any publicly owned company, at least 51% of the stock is to be owned by a LGBT individual or individuals.

Justin Nelson, NGLCC co-founder and president of NGLCC, said:

"Gov. Brown has further added to his impressive record on economic development and LGBT issues with his signing of this bill into law. We are very proud of the hard work of our team, all seven of our California Local Affiliate Chambers, our certified LGBT business owners, the California Small Business Association and other allied organizations that made this law not only our priority, but also their priority. We also are grateful for the wide support of this law from diverse business communities and the unwavering and consistent support from AT&T and Southern California Edison.”

NGLCC co-founder and CEO Chance Mitchell added:

“The LGBT business community owes a huge debt of gratitude to [lead sponsors] Assemblyman Gordon and Sen. Leno for their hard work in passing this bill that will have real impact on the lives of LGBT California business owners and the many Californians employed by them.”


California Gov. Jerry Brown Signs Law Outlawing 'Gay Panic' Legal Defense

Jerry brownCalifornia Governor Jerry Brown has signed into law a bill outlawing the "gay panic" defense in court. Under previous state law, murder charges could be reduced to manslaughter if it was shown the act took place suddenly or in the heat of the moment (so-called "panic" killings). Now, however, it is no longer viable to claim a person's gender or sexual orientation triggered the "panic."

Equality California adds this is the first measure of its kind in the nation. 


Ban On 'Gay Panic' Defense Passes California Assembly, Heads To Governor Jerry Brown

JerrybrownUnder California state law, murder charges can be reduced to manslaughter if it is shown that the act took place suddenly or in the heat of the moment. These events could be deemed "panic" killings, but as of now it is viable for killers to suggest that a person's gender or sexual identity triggered the "panic." If AB2501, which passed the California Assembly in a 50-10 vote on Wednesday, is approved by Governor Jerry Brown, the "gay panic" defense will no longer be allowed in courts. 

The Sacramento Bee reports:

AB2501 by Democratic Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla of Concord would bar defendants from using their victims' gender or sexual orientation to support a so-called panic defense.

Bonilla says such defenses legitimize violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

The American Bar Association urged governments to curtail the use of panic defenses. The gay rights group Equality California says California would have the first statewide prohibition.

Governor Brown has a good track record with LGBTQ issues; hopefully the Golden State is on its way to making history with this new legislation. 

California Bill Aids Transgendered With Name Changes And Identity Documents

California’s Assembly Bill 1121, which makes the state’s name and gender change process the easiest in U.S., went into full effect July 1., reports The Advocate.

6a00d8341c730253ef0192ac812cfd970d-800wiThe bill, authored by out Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins and co-sponsored by Transgender Law Center and Equality California, was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown last year.

In August 2013, Brown signed into law a bill that will provide unprecedented protections for transgender students in California.

Atkins also authored the Respect After Death Act which would ensure death certificates correctly reflect the authentic gender identity of transgender Californians. The bill is currently awaiting action in the Senate.

Speaking to Equality California last year, Masen Davis, Executive Director of Transgender Law Center said:

“Having identity documents that accurately reflect who you are is vital in so many areas of everyday life — from applying for a job to exercising our rights at the ballot box. Many of us wouldn’t think twice when asked to show our ID, but this is a very serious issue for transgender people.”

Previously, transgendered Californians were required to obtain a court order in order to have their birth certificate reflect their correct name and gender.

However, under the new law applicants are now required to submit a form and a doctor's note directly to the state's Department of Public Health, indicating that they have taken appropriate steps to change their gender.

Additionally, those seeking a legal name change are no longer required to publish notice of intent in a local newspaper, a move which will save trans residents significant amounts of money and allow them to avoid the outing that comes with having a name change published.

Speaking to The Advocate, legal director for the Transgender Law Center Ilona Turner said:

“Today marks another step toward full equality for transgender Californians.  These simple administrative changes are going to make a huge difference for transgender people who continue to face unfair and burdensome barriers to being able to live authentically and free from discrimination.”


California Governor Jerry Brown Signs Law Making Transgender Birth Certificate Alterations Easier

Exciting news out of the Golden State! California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill on Tuesday that will make it easier for transgender Californians to obtain a birth certificate with sex and name alterations. Previously, a court order was necessary, a costly and public affair that infringed on the wallets and privacy of those attempting to obtain proper documents.  

JerrybrownThe Associated Press reports:

Currently, people born in California can only get their birth certificates amended by court order, a process that transgender rights advocates argued is expensive and needlessly invasive since a legal notice of the requested changes has to be published in a newspaper.

The bill the governor signed Tuesday, AB1121 by San Diego Assemblywoman Toni Atkins, authorizes the state registrar to issue a birth certificate with a corrected sex to a transgender person who provides proof of having undergone appropriate medical treatment.

Judges will still have to sign off on name changes, but will be able to do so without holding a formal hearing. The law also eliminates the legal notice requirement.

Congratulations to all those impacted positively by this new law. It is nice to see progressive lawmaking for the transgender community, which also recently saw support from the Social Security Administration. Of course, the California GOP constituency is backing the repeal of the recently passed transgender student protection law, and transgender students around the country are receiving mixed feedback from peers following homecoming queen and king wins. Still, the small steps are exciting and, in many ways, life-changing.  


Same-Sex Couples Will Have Equal Access to Fertility Coverage Under New California Law

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This Tuesday, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law a bill that would allow unmarried and same-sex couples to access insurance coverage for the same fertility treatments that married, different-sex couples are provided, the AP reported:

The legislation, AB460, clarifies the non-discrimination provision of an existing state law that requires health plans to offer coverage for fertility treatments, except for in vitro fertilization.

Despite the existing law, Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, said many same-sex couples have been denied the coverage. In praising Brown's signature on his bill, Ammiano said reproductive medicine should be for the benefit of everyone.

"To restrict fertility coverage solely to heterosexual married couples violates California's non-discrimination laws," he said in a statement. "I wrote this bill to correct that."

The new law will take effect in January, and contains language prohibiting insurance plans that offer fertility coverage from discriminating on any grounds, including "domestic partner status, gender, gender expression, gender identity, genetic information, marital status ... sex or sexual orientation."

Fertility issues for same-sex couples can be a hot-button issue, politically: when the French legislature approved a bill legalizing marriage equality in the country, fertility rights were left out of the debate.


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