The Transgender Law Center Responds to Gov Schwarzenegger's Vetoes
In the Governor’s veto message regarding the LGBT Prisoner Safety Act, he stated, “This bill is unnecessary because CDCR already considers these factors when determining where to house inmates.” We are disappointed by the Governor’s failure to codify this purported existing policy into law.
~Masen Davis, Transgender Law Center Executive Director
The Operations Manager for the Transgender Law Center (TLC), Mila L-Pavlin gave me a call — a heads up — late this afternoon that they were sending out there reaction to the Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s vetoes of transgender related legislation in California.
The TLC is the lead organization on transgender legislation in California, and is one of the two key LGBT organizations (the other being Equality California) that work on shepherding LGBT related legislation through the California State Legislature.
Dear Friends of TLC:
Late last night Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed both the LGBT Prisoner Safety Act (AB 382, Ammiano) and the Equal ID Act (AB 1185, Lieu). The Governor stated that existing law and policy already accomplish what these bills sought to write into statute.
In the Governor’s veto message regarding the Equal ID Act, he recognized that the California Court of Appeal “already provided a remedy for this issue,” and stated that the bill is unnecessary. While we continue to believe that a statutory change would help transgender people by making clear what the Courts have already decided, we are pleased that the Governor recognized our legal victory. Earlier this year, the TLC successfully litigated the landmark case Somers v. Superior Court. In that case, a California appellate court ruled it unconstitutional to deny a transgender person born in California but living out of state the ability to petition a California court for a legal gender change. The Equal ID Act would have alleviated any confusion in the statutory language itself.
Our fight for equal access to adequate identification does not stop here! We will now turn our efforts to educating transgender people and the courts about the Somers case. We will continue to work to ensure that California-born people residing in other states know that they, too, can be afforded the dignity of a birth certificate that reflects who they truly are. We know that correct identification helps reduce barriers to employment, health care and social services for transgender people everywhere, and we will continue to make ID issues a TLC priority.
The LGBT Prisoner Safety Act would have required the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) to take prisoners’ sexual orientation and gender identity into account when making a determination about housing. In the Governor’s veto message regarding the LGBT Prisoner Safety Act, he stated, “This bill is unnecessary because CDCR already considers these factors when determining where to house inmates.” We are disappointed by the Governor’s failure to codify this purported existing policy into law. Nonetheless, we are hopeful that his statement will send a clear message to the CDCR that they must account for sexual orientation and gender identity in order to ensure the safety of incarcerated LGBT people.
We are incredibly grateful to Assembly Members Ted Lieu and Tom Ammiano for authoring the Equal ID Act and the LGBT Prisoner Safety Act. Without the hard work of allies like EQCA, which sponsored the bills; the dedication of TLC staff, who worked on bill language, testified at hearings and educated policymakers; and members like you, who reached out to your state representatives, we would not have made it this far. I am so proud of everyone’s efforts to bring the needs of transgender Californians to the Governor’s desk.
We promise to continue fighting as hard as we can for the civil rights and dignity of transgender Californians. Help us in the fight at www.transgenderlawcenter.org/donate.
Transgender Law Center