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Lawmaker sponsors bill to collect vital data on LGBT people

SACRAMENTO – A state assemblymember has introduced an Equality California-sponsored bill that would require the state to add questions about sexual orientation, gender identity and domestic partnership status in the voluntary demographic section of California’s government forms.

This would enable the state to gather vital data about the LGBT community’s use of public services. With such data, the state can then deliver the appropriate level of services to the community.

The bill, AB 1878, was introduced Feb. 16 by Assemblymember Ted Lieu, D-Torrance.

“This bill will improve the state’s ability to measure the community’s needs for such crucial public services as job training, and it will ultimately enable California to ensure that LGBT Californians, especially those living in poverty, receive the services they need to take care of their families and to lead healthy lives,” said Geoff Kors, executive director of Equality California.

“Currently the state collects little data on the LGBT community, and this bill would help close the information gap.”

The UCLA Williams Institute has found that California’s same-sex couples are raising children with significantly less economic resources than married parents.

Data from the 2007 California Health Interview Survey (CHIS) shows that 13.4 percent of lesbian and bisexual women and 7.2 percent of gay and bisexual men live in poverty.

Nationally, children of LGBT people are twice as likely to live in poverty as the children of heterosexual couples.
“AB 1878 will help ensure that the needs of the LGBT community will not be excluded so that state services can be appropriately targeted," Lieu said. "This bill is also about dignity and the recognition of the diversity of California.”

About Equality California
Equality California is the largest statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender-rights advocacy organization in California. Over the past decade, it has strategically moved California from a state with extremely limited legal protections for LGBT individuals to a state with some of the most comprehensive civil rights protections in the nation. Equality California has gotten passed over 60 pieces of legislation and continues to advance equality through legislative advocacy, electoral work, public education and community empowerment. For more information, visit www.eqca.org.