California Legislature Passes Resolution Calling for Federal Equality Act

The California Legislature has passed AJR 45, a resolution authored by Asm. David Chiu (D-San Francisco) and sponsored by Equality California, calling on Congress to pass the federal Equality Act. The Equality Act updates the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include protections based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and sex in the areas of employment, housing, public accommodations, public education, federal funding, credit, and the jury system. With bipartisan support, the resolution was approved in the Senate yesterday and approved in the Assembly today on concurrence. AJR 45 is now adopted.

“When more than 200 pieces of anti-LGBT legislation have been introduced in state legislatures in the past year across the nation, AJR 45 puts the state of California in support of strong federal LGBT protections,” said Rick Zbur, executive director of Equality California. “LGBT people in a majority of states can be fired from their jobs, turned away by doctors when they need care, or evicted from their homes because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, and they have little or no recourse. It is time to pass the federal Equality Act to make sure that all LGBT Americans are protected equally, and that LGBT Californians don’t leave their rights at the border when they leave our state.”

Because Congress has not passed comprehensive non-discrimination legislation that protects LGBT people, many LGBT Americans still face daily discrimination and remain at risk of being fired or denied services because of who they are.

“It is appalling that in 2016, many LGBT Americans still face daily discrimination and remain at risk of being fired or denied services because of who they love and their gender expression,” said Assemblymember Chiu. “We need to encourage a culture of inclusion and equality not segregation. I am glad my Senate colleagues agree it is time for Congress to vote for the Equality Act.”

A growing number of states have passed or are considering enacting so-called Religious Freedom Restoration Acts or similar legislation to justify discrimination against the LGBT community. The Equality Act would maintain exemptions for religious organizations and schools, but would make clear that religion cannot be used to justify refusal of service based on a person’s race, color, religion, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

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Equality California is the nation’s largest statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization dedicated to creating a fair and just society. Our mission is to achieve and maintain full and lasting equality, acceptance, and social justice for all people in our diverse LGBT communities, inside and outside of California. Our mission includes advancing the health and well-being of LGBT Californians through direct healthcare service advocacy and education. Through electoral, advocacy, education and mobilization programs, we strive to create a broad and diverse alliance of LGBT people, educators, government officials, communities of color and faith, labor, business, and social justice communities to achieve our goals. www.eqca.org