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Gay seniors bill
passes in California senate

Gay seniors bill
passes in California senate

A bill that would ensure that the California Department of Aging includes programming for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender seniors as part of its services was passed by the state senate on Thursday and sent to the desk of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger for consideration. The Older Californians Equality and Protection Act was authored by gay assemblyman Mark Leno of San Francisco and sponsored by the gay rights group Equality California.

"We applaud the senate for recognizing the need to support one of our most vulnerable populations," said Geoff Kors, Equality California executive director. "We call on the governor to sign this important bill so that LGBT seniors are adequately served by government services that are available to all older Californians."

Studies have shown that lifelong experiences of marginalization place LGBT seniors at high risk for isolation, poverty, homelessness, and premature institutionalization. Many may avoid accessing services altogether, even when their health, safety, and security depend on it.

"California's LGBT seniors deserve our focus and attention so they can live their golden years with dignity and in comfort," said Leno. "This bill will include them in the design and implementation of all state programs serving the elderly to ensure they are afforded the care and services they need."

There was no word on if and when Schwarzenegger would sign the bill. (The Advocate)

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