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Jimmy Kimmel Speaks to California's First Gay Governor (for a few hours) Toni Atkins: VIDEO


Yesterday we mentioned that out California Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins was set to step in as governor of California for a few hours after a chain of leadership absences put her next in line for the office.

Jimmy Kimmel took a moment to interview Atkins while she was in the governor's office, and though she did not mention that the strange situation had made her the state's official first gay governor, she did discuss a few items she considered for yesterday's agenda.


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For Brief Window Today California Will Have Its First Openly Gay Governor

Toni-atkinsWith California cycling through four Democratic governors this week as officials leave for scheduled travel, the state is expected to see its first-ever openly gay governor for a brief window on Wednesday – Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins.

For roughly eight to nine hours today, Atkins will be filling in for Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, who is traveling to Chicago for the day. Lt. Gov Gavin Newsom and Gov. Jerry Brown are also out-of-state today with Newsom attending a Special Olympics event on the East Coast and Brown on a trade mission in Mexico.

The Washington Post reports:

[Atkins] is the first openly lesbian leader of either California chamber, succeeding the first openly gay Assembly speaker, John Pérez, a Democrat from Los Angeles. Atkins was also the first lesbian mayor of San Diego when she briefly held office in 2005 after a predecessor resigned. In 2003, she became the city’s first openly lesbian deputy mayor, too.

Atkins will be the nation's second openly gay governor, following New Jersey Gov. James McGreevey’s brief stint as an "out" governor before his resignation in 2004.

To date, no state has elected an openly gay governor. 

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.”

Toni Atkins, First Out Lesbian Assembly Speaker Elected in California

Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, was elected as the next Speaker of the California Assembly yesterday, Frontiers reports:

AtkinsShe is the first open lesbian to serve as speaker—and she takes over from the first openly gay man, current Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez. The Speaker of the Assembly has often been described as the second most powerful person in state politics after the governor.

Atkins is also only the second Democratic woman to be elected to the post, according to a press release from her office:

"I am humbled, grateful, and ready to get to work,” says Atkins.  “From the drought we are experiencing to ensuring a healthy business climate and a world class educational system, California is facing important issues in the near future.  I look forward to leading the State Assembly in working with the Senate and the Governor to meet our challenges and to move our great state forward.  I thank my Assembly colleagues for their confidence and support.
I also am very grateful to Speaker Pérez for his support and mentorship and I look forward to working with him on a smooth transition.”

Congrats to Speaker Atkins!


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