California to Apologize for Discriminating Against LGBT People

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

SACRAMENTO—Assemblymember Evan Low (D-Silicon Valley), Chair of the California Legislative LGBT Caucus, introduced a resolution today apologizing for the state’s past discriminatory laws that oppressed and persecuted the LGBT community. Assembly Concurrent Resolution 172 is co-authored by members of the California Legislative LGBT Caucus, and supported by Equality California, the Trevor Project, Los Angeles LGBT Center, and the National Center for Lesbian Rights.

“To say the LGBT community has been faced with acts of injustice would be an understatement,” said Assemblymember Evan Low. “It’s only right that we recognize the painful hardship suffered by the LGBT community throughout our state’s history. No one should live in fear of persecution or discrimination for being themselves.”

Historically, California and other states in the union charged people with crimes due to their sexuality and gender identity. These laws served as a basis for criminalizing homosexuality and legitimizing discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. A small sample of California’s anti-lgbt laws are as follows:

•           Throughout California’s early history, local indecency statutes permitted police to harass and sometimes arrest people who were considered deviant or gender-bending.

•           In 1909, state law allowed for the sterilization of convicted and imprisoned sex offenders for being “moral or sexual perverts” including those offenders committed for sodomy and oral sex acts.

•           In 1939, California enacted a “sexual psychopath” law, which was used to commit numerous LGBT people for involuntary psychiatric incarceration and gruesome medical treatments.

•           In 1947, California enacted a statewide registration for sex offenders, exposing LGBT people convicted of sex offenses to public shaming and harassment.

•           In 1977, California law defined marriage as “between one man and one woman.” In March of 2000, Proposition 22 was enacted by California voters to prevent marriage between same-sex couples. Although Prop. 22 was struck down by the California Supreme Court in 2008, the ruling was superseded when Prop. 8 reinstated the ban that same year. Same-sex marriages became legal in 2013.

The resolution concludes with a commitment to ensuring California remains an inclusive state that preserves the rights of all people. Assembly Concurrent Resolution 172 will be referred to committee before a vote on the Assembly floor.