Gay groups in California are welcoming a new law which could ensure better facilities for elderly members of the gay community.

The Assembly Committee on Aging and Long Term Care passed a bill that would require the California Department of Aging to ensure that a variety of programmes and services targeted to elders account for the needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) seniors.

The measure passed by a 3-1 vote and will now move to the Assembly Committee on Appropriations.

“LGBT seniors are denied many of the vital protections afforded by marriage that provide comfort and security in older age,” said Seth Kilbourn, Equality California (EQCA) political director.

“This legislation will enhance California’s ability to meet the unique challenges that face these individuals and that result from lifelong experiences of marginalisation.”

“California already leads the nation in protecting LGBT couples and families, it’s time to focus our attention on our LGBT elders,” said assembly member Mark Leno

“By requiring the state to assess the unique challenges they face in their later years, we can better understand their needs and provide culturally competent and appropriate services,” he added.