In California, Major Win for Transgender-Inclusive Non-Discrimination

By Megan Clayton • October 8, 2015 • 2:54 pm

This week, the health rights of LGBT Californians got a major boost when Governor Jerry Brown signed a “first-in-the-nation bill” into law.

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SB 703 prohibits state agencies from entering into contracts valued at $100,000 or more with any company that discriminates in the provision of health benefits on the basis of gender identity.

Author of the bill, Senator Mark Leno, said in a press release:

California law already stipulates that employers cannot deny transgender people health care and other benefits, but a loophole in state law has allowed companies that contract with the state to refuse equal health coverage. This bill closes that loophole.

The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), Equality California, and Transgender Law Center co-sponsored the bill, which will go into effect on January 1, 2016. NCLR Government Policy Director Geoff Kors said of the legislation:

In signing SB 703, Governor Brown has made California the first state in the nation to refuse to contract with businesses and other entities that discriminate against their transgender employees in benefits.

California is one of 17 states that has laws on the books prohibiting discrimination against gay and transgender people in housing, employment and public spaces.

The fact that until the passage of SB 703, hardworking transgender Californians could still be discriminated against in employer provided healthcare speaks to the importance of baseline non-discrimination protections. And to the need for legislation mandating full equality in all spheres of life.

There are still 33 other states that do not have fully-inclusive non-discrimination protections for LGBT people. Click here to add your name to the nationwide movement of Americans who believe it’s time to fully protect gay and transgender people.


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