The recent signing of three bills by California Governor Jerry Brown has bolstered equality for the LGBT community. Following intense lobbying and emotionally driven protesting, the rights of gay individuals and couples are making strides in a positive direction.
So many Californians and others around the nation commend Governor Brown for “breaking the silence” to help end discrimination aimed at the LGBT community.
One of the bills which passed the governor’s desk amended the laws that dictate the legal course in assisted reproduction. The bill helps both the gay and non-gay communities.
In The Advocate, Trudy Ring writes, “Assembly Bill 960, authored by Assembly member David S. Chiu, provides that unmarried couples using assisted reproduction to become parents will be recognized as such on the same terms as married parents from the moment their child is born; removes the requirement that a doctor or sperm bank must be involved when using assisted reproduction in order to ensure that the donor is not a parent; and provides clear direction as to how egg donors should be treated under California law.”
This is an enormous and positive change for many couples, as the bill is not only progressive but also incredibly thoughtful.
This new legal platform will take effect on January 1, 2016.
Ring continues, “Previously, the law did not mandate parental recognition for unmarried couples, notes NCLR, which supported the legislation along with Equality California and the Our Family Coalition. The new law is also important to LGBT families because many of them use home insemination rather than sperm banks.”
The last portion of what Ring wrote is a huge win for lesbian couples and single women hoping to conceive within the comfort of home, rather than surrounded by the sterility of a doctor’s office. Whether married, unmarried or single, they can conceive in privacy and not be bound by the “red tape” of sperm banks and fertility clinics.
While this brings women into a new era of reproductive freedom, it doesn’t eliminate the need to consult with a third-party reproductive attorney. It’s highly recommended that parties to this type of informal donor arrangement draft comprehensive contracts regarding the right of parentage of the mother(s) and releasing the sperm donor of any legal rights or obligations to the child.
In cases of reproductive law, err on the side of caution and be proactive in delineating and formalizing parental rights from the very start, as it’s much better than being forced to be reactive when faced with a legal battle due to ambiguous paperwork at the time of the sperm donation.
While AB 960 spoke volumes as to the rights of the LGBT community, here are some highlights from the other two bills Governor Brown signed which have also received cheers.
According to Ring, Senate Bill 703 was cosponsored by the Transgender Law Center and the National Center for Lesbian Rights and Equality California.
Ring writes that SB 703 is the, “…first-in-the-nation bill requiring that companies doing significant business with the state provide the same benefits to their transgender employees that cisgender (nontrans) workers receive,” thereby helping bridge the gap in equal health coverage.
Lastly, AB 959, titled the LGBT Disparities Reduction Act, was also signed. This legislative bill calls for state public health agencies to collect information on sexual orientation and gender identity in the course of collecting other demographic data in order to determine where there might be disparities in healthcare provided to the LGBT population.
With the help of Governor Brown, the LGBT community has its own distinct voice reminding everyone that all people are created equal.