In response to last week’s vote in favor of HR 4038, the so-called American Security against Foreign Enemies Act, by members of California’s congressional delegation and openly LGBT congressmembers, Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur issued the following statement:
“Last week’s vote was a victory for ignorance and fear. We are deeply disappointed that the list of ‘ayes’ included members of California’s congressional delegation, including members who have been champions of LGBT civil rights, and several LGBT members of Congress outside of California.
Among the millions of Syrians fleeing their country in fear for their lives are thousands of LGBT people, who face even harsher cruelties if they were to stay than the others, who are fleeing already unspeakable atrocities.
As LGBT people we understand the effects of public antipathy and discrimination, and as a civil rights organization, we have a responsibility to stand up against policy decisions that are unthinking and unfeeling responses to popular anxiety.
It is important for LGBT civil rights groups to stand up against intolerance wherever it raises its head. It’s easy to stand up against discrimination and injustice when the public is with us. The test of courage and leadership, and the purpose of public education and outreach, is to speak out when the public is vulnerable to messages of fear and lack of understanding. In this case, we at Equality California believe it is appropriate to hold elected officials accountable for their actions and to take steps to protest when elected officials are on the wrong side of civil rights issues that impact the LGBT community and the communities that we are a part of.”