LGBT-Specific Religious Freedom Laws in Los Angeles County, California

Learn about LGBT rights & religious freedom laws in Los Angeles County & how they affect you & your family.

LGBT-Specific Religious Freedom Laws in Los Angeles County, California

Before European settlement and colonization in the 18th century, numerous Native American groups lived in the region. Among these, many recognize a third gender role in their societies (nowadays also called two-spirit). People with a male body who behave and act like women and perform typically feminine tasks are known as yaawa among the Atsugewi, kwit or cuit among the Luiseño, Tüdayapi among the Paiute of the North, clele among the Wailaki, 'aqi among the Chumash, wergern among the Yurok and í-wa-musp among the Yuki. Female-to-male individuals are known as Brumaiwi among the Astugewi and Musp-íwap Náip among the Yuki.

Similarly, among the Nomlaki and Klamath and Modoc peoples, respectively, Walusa and T'winiş individuals form a third gender together with men and women. In the language of the Kings River Yokuts, it is tonoo'tcim, while it is tonocim in the Palewyami language. There were no known legal or social punishments for engaging in homosexual activities in these societies. In 1909, California passed a law that provided for the possible sterilization of moral or sexual perverts.

By 1948, 19,042 people had been sterilized under the law. In 1950, the state attorney general issued the opinion that sterilizing inmates for reasons other than therapeutic reasons was likely to be unconstitutional. At the time, California had the most cases of sterilization of all states, with more cases than all states combined. In 1951, the law was amended to eliminate perversion as a reason for sterilization.

Starting in the mid-20th century, debate surrounding the sodomy law became increasingly widespread. In 1975, a bill was introduced to repeal the state law on sodomy. In 1972 and 1974, California voters chose to amend the Bill of Rights of the State Constitution to include inalienable rights such as life and liberty, acquisition, possession and protection of property, and pursuit and attainment of security, happiness and privacy. In May 1975, an adult law for residents over 18 years of age was passed, restricting existing laws on sodomy or oral copulation for same-sex or opposite-sex couples to only genuinely criminal cases, and took effect the following year.

In 1985, Berkeley became the first state government entity to legally recognize same-sex couples by enacting its domestic partnership policy for city and school district employees. The term domestic partnership was coined by city employee and gay rights activist Tom Brougham, and all other domestic partnership policies enacted in the state in subsequent years are modeled after Berkeley politics. During its passage, some concern was expressed that by repealing prohibition of same-sex marriage SB 1306 violated separation of powers as State Assembly would repeal an initiative approved by voters. However, consensus of Assembly Judiciary Committee was that voters cannot pass an unconstitutional and subsequently banned law any more than Assembly can.

In light of In Re Marriage Cases and Hollingsworth v Perry who collectively prohibited application of any law that prohibited same-sex marriage Assembly Judiciary Committee determined that Assembly has capacity to repeal prohibited laws. Marriage is a personal relationship that arises from civil contract between two people for which consent of parties capable of entering into that contract is necessary. California law clarifies protections against hate crimes based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression among other categories. State law provides for improvements in penalties for crime motivated by victim's perceived or actual sexual orientation or gender identity.

Support for LGBT rights and same-sex marriage has evolved significantly over past few decades. Over years several LGBT-specific voting initiatives have taken place in California. First was Proposition 6 Briggs Initiative which would have banned gays and lesbians from working in public schools but failed despite fact that polls initially showed broad support. In 2000s two same-sex marriage initiatives were voted on Proposition 22 and Proposition 8 both of which were successful.

While there are examples of California case law to effect that “sexual preference” should not affect child custody determinations this language is outdated unclear and has not been codified in California Family Code. The Equality Act would modify existing federal civil rights laws to explicitly prohibit discrimination in public spaces and services and in federally funded programs on basis of sex including sexual orientation and gender identity. WHPA includes right to abortion in federal law and provides clear guidance to states and courts on rights of medical providers to provide abortion services without burdensome and medically unnecessary restrictions such as unnecessary waiting periods burdensome privilege of admission requirements for providers or unnecessary medical procedures such as ultrasound. SB 1306 drafted by Senator Mark Leno aligns California's statutory law with Supreme Court's decision last June that restored freedom to marry in California.

The law protects organ donation and transplantation among HIV-positive people in state of California. SB 107 is response to other states' anti-trans laws and will help ensure that transgender youth and their families who come to California in search of gender-affirming care and an authentic life are protected in that effort. Equality California is co-sponsoring SB 145 with Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey. LGBTQ youth who find themselves homeless in particular often travel to major California cities such as San Francisco and Los Angeles to find acceptance which could be long way from their county of birth.

Most support for LGBT rights can be seen in larger cities such as Los Angeles San Diego and San Francisco as well as many Pacific Coast cities. This bill would facilitate collection of voluntary self-revealed demographic data on sexual orientation gender and variations in sexual characteristics (intersex traits) in all federal surveys. Specifically The Equality Act will modify existing federal civil rights laws including Civil Rights Act of 1964 Fair Housing Act Equal Credit Opportunity Act Jury Selection Services Act to...

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