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California to apologize for anti-LGBT discrimination

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California Assemblymember Evan Low (D-Silicon Valley) who is Chair of the California Legislative LGBT Caucus put forth a resolution today apologizing for the Golden State’s past LGBT discriminations.

“To say the LGBT community has been faced with acts of injustice would be an understatement,” said Assemblymember Evan Low (pictured left). “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.”

The amends is supported by Equality California, the Trevor Project, and the Los Angeles LGBT Center, Assembly Concurrent Resolution 172 is co-authored by members of the California Legislative LGBT Caucus.

Although California is more accepting now, there was a time when it joined other states in the union in charging people with crimes because of their sexual preference or gender identity.

Homosexuality was once illegal in California; police violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people was commonplace and accepted by the majority. 

One of the most notorious California raids on a gay establishment was conducted by undercover LA police officers at the Black Cat Tavern in 1967. This incident left people beaten by police resulting in 16 arrests.

Here are other samples of California’s past anti-LGBT laws issued in a press release :

  • 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 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 Although Prop. 22 was struck down by the California Supreme Court in 2008, the ruling was superseded when Prop. 8 reinstated the ban that same year.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.