As part of an official resolution proclaiming it Pride month, the legislature’s LGBTQ Caucus invited Roma, a San Francisco Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence member. Additionally, out tennis legend Billie Jean King and out filmmaker and internet personality Eugene Lee Yang were among others honored.
Sister Roma was invited to the state capitol by San Francisco’s gay state Sen. Scott Wiener, The Sacramento Beereports.
Several Republican senators called on the Senate’s President pro Tempore, Toni Atkins, to revoke Roma’s invitation last Thursday.
On Monday afternoon, some Catholics and evangelical Christians protested at the Capitol’s west steps against the recognition of Roma. Republican members retired to the lounge behind the chamber as Roma approached the podium.
However, standing ovations filled the room as the rest of the members cheered, applauded, and clapped.
“Love you, Roma! ” cried fellow honoree Harry Lit, eliciting cheers from the gallery and floor. While outside the chamber, Roma was greeted by supporters giving her high fives, shaking her hand, and taking photos.
“I was very emotional,” she said after receiving her award.
“I came this close to crying,” she added, “and if this makeup runs, I’m done.”
Wiener stated before the event that he would be surprised if Republican colleagues disrupted the ceremony.
“I think my Republican colleagues are caricaturing her,” Wiener conveyed to The Bee, “and if they really took the time to get to know her, they’d understand why I nominated her for this honor.”
The Sisters describe themselves as “a leading-edge Order of queer and trans nuns” employing “humor and irreverent wit to expose the forces of bigotry, complacency and guilt that chain the human spirit.”
In both the Assembly and Senate, the resolutions were approved without opposition.
The dispute over Roma’s invitation follows the L.A. Dodgers’ withdrawal of an invitation to the Los Angeles order of the Sisters last month, sparked by conservative complaints. Within a few days, the team re-invited the group after receiving backlash from protestors. Drag performances have been banned outright in several conservative-controlled states following a nationwide Republican campaign to restrict them.
Former vice president and 2024 presidential candidate Mike Pense criticized the Dodgers for acknowledging the Sisters.
According to the American Civil Liberties Union, 491 anti-LGBTQ bills have been introduced in GOP-controlled legislatures across the country — 63 of them have already become law.