Equality California, the nation’s largest statewide LGBTQ civil rights organization, released the following statement from Executive Director Rick Zbur on Monday:
“Governor Jerry Brown has long championed the cause of LGBTQ equality in California, making more progress in his four terms than any other governor in the nation to date. From decriminalizing same-sex relationships in 1975 and appointing the state’s first openly gay judge in 1979 to signing more than 55 pro-equality bills into law during the last eight years, Governor Brown has affirmed his commitment to ensuring all Californians are treated with equal dignity and respect. We have not always agreed with the governor’s approach to achieving full LGBTQ equality, but we have never once doubted his sincere dedication to our cause.
“As Governor Brown leaves office today, we thank him for his lifetime of public service. We are grateful to the governor, to First Lady Anne Gust Brown and to their staff for their strong partnership over the years. In particular, Equality California thanks the governor’s late chief of staff Nancy McFadden, who was an incomparable ally to California’s LGBTQ community, a trailblazer in every sense of the word and a champion for the Golden State. Together, they helped make California a beacon of hope to LGBTQ people everywhere.”
Background on Governor Brown’s pro-equality record:
- In 1975 — more than a decade before the Supreme Court upheld Georgia’s sodomy law in Bowers v. Hardwick and nearly three decades before the Court would reverse that decision in Lawrence v. Texas — Governor Brown signed Willie Brown’s AB 489, which repealed California’s sodomy law and decriminalized gay relationships.
- In 1979, Brown appointed Steve Lachs as the nation’s first openly gay judge on the municipal bench.
- As attorney general and then as governor, Brown refused to defend anti-gay Proposition 8 in federal court.
- In his last two terms as governor, Brown has signed 55 out of the 60 pro-equality bills sponsored by Equality California that reached his desk — including the first-in-the-nation protection against so-called “conversion therapy” for LGBTQ youth, the FAIR Education Act requiring LGBTQ-inclusive curriculum, the ban of the use of so-called “gay panic” and “transgender panic” criminal defenses, HIV criminalization reform and more — earning him a lifetime score of 92 percent.
About Equality California:
Equality California is the nation’s largest statewide LGBTQ civil rights organization. We bring the voices of LGBTQ people and allies to institutions of power in California and across the United States, striving to create a world that is healthy, just, and fully equal for all LGBTQ people. We advance civil rights and social justice by inspiring, advocating and mobilizing through an inclusive movement that works tirelessly on behalf of those we serve. www.eqca.org