SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- In a historic call to action, yesterday the California State Legislature approved Assembly Joint Resolution 43, the LGBTQ Bill of Rights, by Assembly Member Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens). The measure puts California on record declaring "sexual orientation and gender identity" should be included alongside "race, color, sex, national origin, disability, age and religion" in all federal anti-discrimination laws.
"A lack of protections at the federal level leave lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) Americans at the mercy of state laws that can either protect them, or target them for further discrimination," said Lara. "Today my colleagues in the California State Legislature stood with me in support of parity for LGBTQ Americans, bringing them a step closer to being treated 'equal' as our Declaration of Independence dictates."
AJR 43, sponsored by Bienestar Human Services, Inc., (BIENESTAR), brings the issue of equal rights for LGBTQ individuals to the forefront of American consciousness. Currently most federal anti-discrimination laws withhold equal status and parity for LGBT individuals, which deny this population many basic and fundamental protections and benefits.
"For too long, LGBT individuals have been without basic, fundamental protections that have a major impact on the health, economic and social wellbeing of the LGBT community," stated Oscar De La O, President of BIENESTAR, the sponsoring organization. "The LGBTQ American Bill of Rights is an urgent call to justice and we look forward to continuing to work to ensure that the LGBTQ population across the country receives the protections they so desperately need. As the proud sponsor of this Bill of Rights, BIENESTAR will continue to advocate for this bill at the national level so that real, lasting and meaningful change is created for the LGBT community," concluded Mr. De La O.
"Homophobia leads to family and peer violence, abusive behavior, physical and spiritual ostracism, homelessness, high health risk behavior and even suicide for LGBTQ individuals. A comprehensive law addressing inequalities for LGBTQ Americans will go far in eradicating homophobia and its negative effects and foster an attitude of enlightenment, equality and fairness by our fellow Americans," stated Ms. Ari Gutierrez, Co-Chair of the Latino Equality Alliance.
The President, each United States Senator and Representative, and each presiding officer of each house of each state legislature across the nation will receive a copy of the resolution.
Asm. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) represents the 50th Assembly District; he serves as Chair of the California Latino Legislative Caucus, Chair of the Joint Legislative Audit Committee and Chair of the Select Committee on Financial Empowerment. He is member of Appropriations, Banking and Finance, Higher Education, and Water, Parks and Wildlife Committees as well as the LGBT Caucus.
Bienestar Human Services, Inc., one of the largest Latino community-based organizations in the United States addresses the social services, health promotion, and social justice issues of Latinos. Since 1989, BIENESTAR has been committed to enhancing the health and well-being of the Latino community and other underserved communities in Southern California. Visit www.BIENESTAR.org for additional information.
The Latino Equality Alliance was established after Proposition 8, the ballot initiative that took away marriage rights for Lesbian and Gay couples, to increase support for LGBTQ people and issues in the Latino, LGBT and mainstream communities. Visit www.LatinoEqualityAlliance.com for more information.