ASSEMBLYMEMBER LARA URGES PRESIDENT OBAMA,
CONGRESS TO PASS HISTORIC BILL OF RIGHTS FOR LGBTQ PEOPLE
Historic resolution would include "sexual orientation, gender identity" in landmark federal anti-discrimination laws sponsored by BIENESTAR
LOS ANGELES - California State Assemblymember Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) today called on President Obama and Congress to pass the historic Assembly Joint Resolution 43 - LGBTQ Bill of Rights introduced this week, which would extend federal laws to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity that often leads to discrimination against the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people. The call puts the California State Legislature on record in support of updating federal law to protect all LGBTQ people.
"This resolution is an urgent call for justice. While California offers some of the most expansive protections for LGBTQ individuals, without a comprehensive response by the federal government, many LGBTQ Americans continue to be at the mercy of state and local laws that can either protect them or target them for discrimination," said Lara. "There have been recent gains in federal protections, however nothing can match the safeguards, symbolism and promise of equality for all people like the inclusion of sexual orientation and gender identity alongside 'race, color, sex, national origin, and religion' in our nation's landmark federal antidiscrimination acts."
Assembly Joint Resolution 43 - LGBTQ Bill of Rights is authored by Assemblymember Lara, and is sponsored by Bienestar Human Services, Inc. (BIENESTAR), one of the largest Latino community-based organization in the United States that addresses the social service, social justice, health education and prevention needs of Latino men, women, and children living with HIV/AIDS, and those most at risk of HIV, sexually transmitted diseases (STD's) and other infections. BIENESTAR is based in Southern California with nine community centers strategically located in Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino counties.
"Every day millions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer individuals will endure tremendous injustices throughout our country. An American Bill of Rights for LGBTQ individuals is the solution that will move us beyond addressing the symptoms of homophobia and transphobia with a 'band aid' but will address the root of these problems head on," said Oscar De La O, Executive Director of BIENESTAR.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Fair Housing Act, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act and the Family and Medical Leave Act and other federal laws provide individuals protections from discrimination and give access to benefits. However, these federal anti-discrimination laws withhold equal status and parity for LGBTQ people. Among the protections that are denied to LGBTQ individuals include:
Protections against the decision to hire or fire an employee based on their LGBTQ status.
The refusal to rent or sell housing to a person who is lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer.
Protections against being refused a loan or have to pay higher interest rates of higher fees.
The refusal of an employer to grant same-sex families the ability to take time off for the birth of a child or to care for an ailing spouse.
Since 1989, BIENESTAR has been committed to enhancing the health and well-being of the Latino community and other underserved communities in Southern California. BIENESTAR accomplishes this through its unique peer-to peer service model, community outreach, health education and awareness and human rights advocacy for social justice. Visit www.BIENESTAR.org for additional information. Join us on Facebook: BIENESTAR Familia.