Every adopted child in California has the right to fair and equitable access to all available child welfare services, placements, and care. It is equally important that non-discrimination laws include housing protections, given the high incidence of discrimination that LGBTQ people experience when trying to access and maintain safe housing. Currently, 22 states and the District of Columbia offer protection against housing discrimination based on sexual orientation, while 25 states and the District of Columbia also provide protection against discrimination in housing based on gender identity. Among those 20 states, all except Illinois, Iowa, and Vermont protect residents against discrimination on the basis of gender expression.
Working closely with members of the California LGBTQ Legislative Caucus and other pro-equality legislators, Equality California sponsors and supports pro-equality bills in Sacramento.Family law issues related to equal treatment are almost entirely addressed at the state level and are usually addressed in subject-specific laws or case law. 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 the basis of sex, including sexual orientation and gender identity. This bill would facilitate the collection of voluntary, self-revealed demographic data on sexual orientation, gender, and variations in sexual characteristics (intersex traits) in all federal surveys. Equality California co-sponsors SB 159 with the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, the Los Angeles LGBT Center, the California Pharmacists Association and the California Society of Health Systems Pharmacists.Senate Bill 357 repeals Section 653.22 of the California Penal Code, the law that criminalizes loitering with the intention of engaging in sex work.
An increasingly important question related to civil rights laws is whether and under what circumstances individuals, organizations and businesses can assert religious beliefs as a legitimate basis for non-compliance with laws against discrimination or the protection of reproductive rights. In many cases, the pre-existing and prevailing non-discrimination framework may not include protected classes from other states or from federal law in all walks of life.The Supreme Court decriminalized most private and consensual sexual conduct by adults in its 2003 decision in Lawrence v. Texas. Because marital status determines more than 1,000 rights and obligations under federal law alone, ensuring access to marriage allowed couples to change their legal status for the purposes of Social Security and insurance benefits, taxes, parental relationships, and eligibility for “family status” in a variety of public and private programs and services.Most general anti-discrimination laws, such as the Civil Rights Act of 1964, do not include health care or health insurance as fields covered; those contexts are addressed in a combination of federal and state laws specific to the health sector.
SB 1306, drafted by Senator Mark Leno, aligns California's statutory law with the Supreme Court's decision last June that restored the freedom to marry in California. The Women's Health Protection Act (WHPA) includes the right to abortion in federal law and provides clear guidance to states and courts on the rights of medical providers to provide abortion services without burdensome and medically unnecessary restrictions (waiting periods, ultrasound scans, privilege requirements for admission to hospitals).This bill would facilitate the collection of voluntary, self-revealed demographic data on sexual orientation, gender, and variations in sexual characteristics (intersex traits) in all federal surveys. As noted above, there is no federal law that prohibits discrimination in public accommodations on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity; so religious freedom defenses with respect to access to goods and services emerge only when there is an applicable state or local civil rights law.