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Task Force applauds Gov. Schwarzenegger for signing three LGBT rights bills into law

(WASHINGTON)— The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force yesterday applauded California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger for signing three lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights bills into law.

The first bill grants same-sex couples married before the passage of Proposition 8 full recognition as married spouses in California, regardless of whether they married in California or out of state. The new statute confirms that same-sex couples married outside of California after Nov. 5, 2008, must be given all of the rights, protections and responsibilities of married spouses under California law, with the sole exception of the designation of “marriage.”

The governor also signed the “LGBT Domestic Violence Programs Expansion Bill,” which will leverage funding for same-sex domestic violence services. He vetoed two bills: the “Equal ID Act,” which would have allowed trans ender people to obtain new birth certificates, and the “LGBT Prisoner Safety Act,” which would have considered sexual orientation and gender identity to safely house prisoners.

Said Rea Carey, Executive Director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, “We are grateful that Gov. Schwarzenegger has signed the ‘Marriage Recognition and Family Protection Act,’ and the ‘LGBT Domestic Violence Programs Expansion Bill,’ two measures that will provide important protections and services to the LGBT community. We are disappointed by the vetoes of the ‘Equal ID Act’ and the ‘LGBT Prisoner Safety Act.’ We urge the state to keep working to ensure LGBT people receive the rights and protections in these critical areas.”

Schwarzenegger also signed a bill that marks May 22 as Harvey Milk Day, recognizing the contributions of slain civil rights leader Harvey Milk.

“We applaud Gov. Schwarzenegger for doing the right thing by honoring a true civil rights hero,” said Carey. “Harvey Milk gave hope to a generation of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. His history is our history, and a day in his honor will preserve his legacy for generations to come. It is a great tribute to mark a day in name of an openly gay leader for his outstanding contributions to California and the nation. We congratulate Equality California for spearheading the efforts on these critical bills.”