California Apologizes for Anti-LGBT Discrimination

For immediate release:

SACRAMENTO —The California State Assembly passed Assembly Concurrent Resolution 172 today to apologize for the state’s past discriminatory laws that oppressed and persecuted the LGBT community. ACR 172 is authored by Assemblymember Evan Low (D-Silicon Valley), Chair of the California Legislative LGBT Caucus, and co-authored by all members of the California Legislative LGBT Caucus. ACR 172 is supported by Equality California, the Human Rights Campaign, the ACLU, and the Los Angeles LGBT Center.

“California has a long history of enacting legislation that discriminated against LGBT individuals,” said Assemblymember Low. “This will not undo the decades of persecution and oppression that our community has faced, but it is important to recognize these injustices so that we as a state can move forward and lead with love.”

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 Although Prop. 22 was struck down by the California Supreme Court in 2008, the ruling was superseded when Prop. 8 reinstated the ban that same year.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. ACR 172 will now move to the Senate.