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Governor Signs Bill Expanding Resources for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Survivors of Domestic Violence

(SACRAMENTO)– Yesterday Governor Schwarzenegger signed a bill that will increase and expand services to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) survivors of domestic violence. Authored by Assemblymember John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) and sponsored by Equality California (EQCA), the LGBT Domestic Violence Programs Expansion bill will go into effect on January 1, 2010.

"Equality California appreciates Governor Schwarzenegger’s support for this bill, which will provide a much needed increase in resources and support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender survivors of domestic violence,” said Geoff Kors, executive director of EQCA.

While rates of domestic violence in same-sex relationships are equivalent to those in heterosexual relationships, support for LGBT survivors continues to lag far behind those available to non-LGBT couples.

The bill expands access for LGBT service providers to a state fund within the California Emergency Management Agency, which supports LGBT-specific domestic violence programs across the state. The fund, originally established as part of another EQCA-sponsored bill in 2006, is subsidized by a $23 fee on domestic partner registrations. The new bill would also allow for more than four organizations to apply for programmatic funding each fiscal cycle and eliminates the requirement for providers to offer shelter – impediments to many smaller LGBT organizations that inadvertently keep several California communities from providing any services for LGBT survivors of domestic violence.

Said Assemblymember Pérez, "Given the shortage of adequate care for our community, I am thrilled that this legislation will help ensure that all LGBT survivors of domestic violence will have increased access to culturally competent care and resources”.