Showing posts with label California. Show all posts
Showing posts with label California. Show all posts

January 8, 2017

California Bans Official Travel to 4 States with Anti LGBT Laws


California has banned most taxpayer-funded travel to four states that have adopted anti-LGBT laws.

In addition to the three Southern states that the state attorney general's office had identified in November for inclusion on the list – Mississippi, North Carolina, and Tennessee – Kansas was also named to the official list posted online January 1.

It is the result of Assembly Bill 1887, which was authored by gay Assemblyman Evan Low (D-Campbell), going into effect January 1. The AG's office did not explain its reasons for including the quartet of states on the travel ban list on the main page of the website, instead, it included links to the anti-LGBT laws each state has passed at the end of a separate page titled Frequently Asked Questions about the new law.

Low's legislation was in response to North Carolina lawmakers adopting in early 2016 House Bill 2, which restricts cities in the state from enacting local non-discrimination laws and requires transgender people to use public restrooms based on the gender they were assigned at birth. Newly sworn in Democratic Governor Roy Cooper has vowed to repeal the law, though an effort to rescind it just prior to Christmas failed.

Mississippi allows for its residents and businesses to discriminate based on their religious beliefs, while Tennessee adopted a law last year allowing therapists and other mental health professionals to deny seeing LGBT patients and others for religious reasons. Kansas last year adopted a law allowing campus-based religious groups to discriminate against LGBT students.

Low told the Bay Area Reporter this week that he is "actually disheartened" to see four states made the list, as ideally there would be none falling under the ban. He added he hopes it serves as a warning to lawmakers in other states where anti-LGBT laws are pending.

"Our state has clearly said our taxpayer dollars will not fund bigotry or hatred," Low said. "If other states try to pass similar laws, we will do everything we can in our power to stop any type of discrimination from happening to Californians. As you know, our zero tolerance policy says there is no room for discrimination of any kind in California and this bill ensures discrimination will not be tolerated of any kind outside our borders."

Equality California, the statewide LGBT advocacy group which co-sponsored Low's legislation, did not respond to a request for comment for this story by deadline.

As the B.A.R. noted in a story last week, San Francisco officials are expected to also ban non-essential travel to the four states, and possibly others, when its local travel ban goes into effect February 14, Valentine's Day. The city's ordinance also bans departments and agencies from entering into new contracts with businesses headquartered in the banned states.

"San Francisco and California must send a clear message that we aren't doing business in states that pass anti-LGBT hate laws," gay state Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), who was the main sponsor of the city's travel ban, said in a statement Tuesday to the B.A.R. "The issuance of this list – and the upcoming issuance of San Francisco's list – of banned states makes our legislation tangible."

Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties already have travel ban policies in place, as do the cities of Santa Cruz and Watsonville. And a number of states have banned travel to certain jurisdictions with anti-LGBT laws.

California's travel ban applies to not only government workers but also to employees and students at the state's public universities. But it does allow for exemptions to meet prior contractual obligations, or for the protection of public health, welfare, or safety.

With anti-LGBT legislation already pending in Alabama, Georgia, Iowa, Texas, and West Virginia, it is likely more states could be added to the travel ban lists this year.

July 19, 2016

After Years of Court Challenges California Will Start Teaching LGBT History

Most public school students learn about abolitionists and Civil Rights leaders in elementary school classrooms. Yet, it’s entirely possible for students to graduate high school with more knowledge about biology than the gay rights movement. 

In California things are about to change:

In second grade, California students will learn about families with two moms or two dads. Two years later, while studying how immigrants have shaped the Golden State, they will hear how New York native Harvey Milk became a pioneering gay politician in San Francisco.

The State Board of Education unanimously approved those changes in classroom instruction Thursday to comply with the nation's first law requiring public schools to include prominent gay Americans and LGBT rights milestones in history classes.

The updates are part of a broader overhaul of California's history and social science curriculum. During four hours of public testimony, dozens of speakers criticized the way the framework discusses Muslims, Hindus, Jews and Japan's use of "comfort women" during World War II, but no one objected to the inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights.

Allyson Chiu, who just finished 11th grade at Cupertino High School, said the revisions would make LGBT students more comfortable. She and seven others spoke in favor of how the guidelines address gay issues.

"My classmates can solve quadratic equations or cite the elements on the periodic table. They can't tell you who Harvey Milk was or the significance of the Stonewall Riots," Chiu said.

The changes satisfy legislation passed five years ago that added LGBT Americans and people with disabilities to the list of social and ethnic groups whose contributions schools are supposed to teach and must appear in K-8 textbooks.

The law also prohibited classroom materials that reflect adversely on gays or particular religions. Conservative opponents argued that it should be up to parents to decide how and at what age to broach sexual orientation with their children and made two unsuccessful efforts to repeal the law.

The approved framework weaves references to gay Americans and events throughout the history and social science curriculum, starting in second grade through discussions about diverse families and again in fourth grade with lessons on California's place in the gay rights movement.

The guidelines also touch on the topics in fifth and eighth grade — looking at gender roles in the 18th and 19th centuries and examples of individuals who flouted them — and throughout high school.

A capstone of sorts would come in U.S. government courses, where seniors would learn about the 2015 Supreme Court ruling that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide and recent court cases involving bathroom access for transgender students.

California's law took effect in January 2012, but its implementation was slowed by attempts to overturn it, competing educational priorities and budget cuts that stalled work on drafting recommendations for the school board and textbook purchases.

Opponents remain concerned that the guidelines de-emphasize important historical figures and events to make room for LGBT icons of lesser or disputed note, said Pacific Justice Institute senior staff attorney Matthew McReynolds, whose Sacramento legal defense organization was involved in the repeal efforts.

"Certainly some families will be concerned about their second-graders learning about two-mom families, but I think parents would be much more alarmed if they knew that LGBT History Month, in the last few years, has promoted the notion that 'America the Beautiful' is a source of lesbian pride," McReynolds said.

Katharine Lee Bates, a Wellesley College professor who wrote the song in 1893, lived with a fellow faculty member at the women's school for a quarter-century, and contemporary scholars speculate that the relationship was romantic.

Supporters say the changes recognize that LGBT history is part of American history.

“You cannot understand where we are now collectively as Americans without understanding something of the LGBT past,” said Don Romesburg, chairman of women's studies at Sonoma State University.

LGBT advocacy also has strong ties to Los Angeles, where the country's first gay rights organization was founded in 1950 by activist Harry Hay, SF Gate pointed out. 

Even though gay marriage is legal in every U.S. state, school can be an extremely traumatic environment for LGBT kids and teenagers.

A June report from the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network found that LGBT students were given detention, suspended, and expelled from school at unsettlingly high rates, "often for infractions related to identity or orientation," Take Part reported.
GLSEN’s 2013 National School Climate Survey reported that 74 percent of LGBT middle and high school students experienced verbal harassment on the basis of their sexual orientation. 

But the survey also suggested that LGBT-inclusive classrooms can make students feel far safer at school.

In schools that taught LGBT inclusive material in class, only 35 percent of LGBT students felt unsafe, while 60 percent of LGBT students in schools that did not teach an LGBT-inclusive curriculum felt unsafe, the survey reports.

LGBT advocates are hailing the vote as a huge victory.

"You cannot understand where we are now collectively as Americans without understanding something of the LGBT past," Don Romesburg, the chairman of women's studies at Sonoma State University, told ABC News.

December 2, 2015

2 Shooters Dead one in Custody also Graph on Gun Deaths By State

Police have engaged the suspects in today's mass shooting in San Bernardino, California. Two suspects are dead, and a third person is reported to be in custody. The individuals were reportedly responsible for opening fire at the Inland Regional Center, killing at least 14 people, and injuring 17 others. Police have refused to define this specifically as terrorism, but have not fully ruled it out. Below are visualizations about mass shootings in the United States, as well as terrorist attacks in California. [Bring your cursor over the graph to get the latest numbers per state]’ 

August 29, 2014

Little Caesars might not care for Gays so why care about Gay marriage benefits?


The tittle above does not describe the way Little Caesars is going to defend itself in court but at least we will have an idea of how legally strong gay marriages are in California and perhaps the country. Now a lawsuit is pitting a company against a gay couple claiming the same benefits straight couples get.
A former trainee manager at Little Caesars pizza in California sued the company for discrimination on Wednesday, accusing the Detroit-based chain of denying employees health insurance benefits for their legally wed same-sex spouses.
The lawsuit was brought in state Superior Court in Orange County, regional headquarters for the nation's third-largest pizza chain, by Frank Bernard, 47, who said he quit his job after Little Caesars refused to extend coverage to his husband of six years.
"I didn't want anything special, I just wanted the same benefits package as heterosexual couples," Bernard said at a news conference in Los Angeles.
The lawsuit names Little Caesars Enterprises and its parent company, Ilitch Holdings, as defendants, accusing them of discriminating against Bernard on the basis of his sexual orientation, in violation of California law.
It cites a letter Little Caesars presented Bernard explaining a benefits policy that defined "spouse" as "the one person to whom you are legally married under the laws of the state in which you reside, including common law spouse, and who is the opposite gender from you."
The suit seeks unspecified monetary damages and a court order requiring the company to treat gay and straight married workers equally in providing employment benefits.
Neither Little Caesars nor Ilitch Holdings responded to requests for comment on the case.
Bernard and his partner were among some 18,000 gay and lesbian California couples who married in 2008 during a five-month window between a state Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex matrimony and passage of Proposition 8 banning it in November of that year.
Those marriages were later upheld by the courts as legally recognized, and last June the U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for gay marriages to resume in California for good, after Prop 8 was struck down as unconstitutional.
Same-sex marriage remains banned in Michigan under a voter-approved law there, though a federal judge has declared that measure unconstitutional in a case now under appeal.
The Supreme Court ruled separately last year that same-sex married couples were entitled to spousal benefits available under federal law, striking down provisions of the federal Defense of Marriage Act. But that decision did not extend to benefits private companies provide to their employees.
"With this lawsuit we look forward to expanding the employment rights and benefits for legally married same sex couples," Bernard's attorney, Gloria Allred, told reporters.
Little Caesars opened its first outlet in Garden City, Michigan, in 1959. It ranked as the third-largest pizza chain behind Pizza Hut and Domino's, with 2012 sales of $2.9 billion, according to Nation's Restaurant News, an industry magazine.
 Daina Beth Solomon, Steve Gorman; Reuters 

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