On January 1, three new pieces of legislation expanding rights and resources for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community went into effect in California. Among the new laws, each sponsored by Equality California, include a bill that recognizes the marriage of thousands of same-sex couples regardless of when or where they were married. The Marriage Recognition and Family Protection Act, introduced by Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), holds that same-sex couples married in any state or nation anytime before the passage of Proposition 8 must be recognized as married spouses in California, regardless of whether they married in California or in another state or nation. Also becoming state law is the LGBT Domestic Violence Programs Expansion Bill, which was authored by Speaker-Elect Assemblymember John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles). The bill expands access for LGBT service providers to a state fund within the California Emergency Management Agency, which supports LGBT-specific domestic violence programs across the state. This bill increases services to LGBT survivors of domestic violence and a third recognizing the contributions of slain civil rights leader Harvey Milk. Harvey Milk Day, which will be celebrated on May 22, 2010, marks the first time in the nation’s history that a state will officially recognize and celebrate the contributions of an openly LGBT person with an annual “day of special significance.”

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