LGBTQ Non-Discrimination in the States

Full Statewide LGBT Non-Discrimination Protections
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LGBTQ Non-Discrimination in California:

Since 1992, LGBTQ non-discrimination in California has protected people from discrimination in housing and employment on the basis of sexual orientation. The law was strengthened several times over the next decade – and in 2003, that law was expanded to include gender identity and expression. In 2005 the Civil Rights Act of 2005 brought non-discrimination protections to their full effect, establishing protections in public accommodations for LGBT Californians.

The Path to LGBTQ Non-Discrimination in California:

  • September 18, 1959: The California Fair Employment Practices Act takes effect after passage the previous April, protecting residents from discrimination based on race, color, creed, national origin, or ancestry. At the time, the law does not include sexual orientation or gender identity and is limited to employment.
  • 1976: Los Angeles becomes the first city in the state to offer municipal employment protections against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. The policy is limited to public employees, but in 1979 is expanded to include private employers.
  • 1978: San Francisco establishes protections from discrimination based on sexual orientation in employment, housing, and public accommodations. Dozens of cities, boroughs and townships throughout California pass similar local ordinances over the next decade, building momentum toward statewide legislation.
  • April 4, 1979: An executive order signed by California Governor Jerry Brown takes effect, prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation in state employment.
  • 1980: The California Fair Employment & Housing Act is passed by the California Legislature, prohibiting housing discrimination based on race, color, creed, national origin, or ancestry.
  • March 13, 1984: Governor George Deukmejan vetoes a bill passed by the California Assembly that would have outlawed employment discrimination based on sexual orientation.
  • May 1, 1986: California Attorney General John Van de Kamp issues a formal opinion finding that employment discrimination against Californians based on sexual orientation is barred under a state law protecting workers’ rights to engage in political activity. The opinion does not carry the force of law but is a step in the right direction as lawmakers continue to consider the issue and push non-discrimination forward.
  • September 30, 1991: Governor Pete Wilson vetoes a bill passed by the California Assembly that would have outlawed employment discrimination based on sexual orientation. The veto ignited widespread outrage across the state.
  • September 26, 1992: Governor Pete Wilson, a Republican, signs into law a bill adding sexual orientation employment non-discrimination protections to the state’s Labor Code, a step forward but one with weak enforcement abilities. The very next day, he vetoes the Civil Rights Restoration Act, which would have provided stronger employment protections from discrimination based on sexual orientation (as well as people with disabilities and non-English speakers), by adding these protections to the Fair Employment & Housing Act. The previous year, on September 30, 1991, Gov. Wilson vetoed a similar bill. Years later, in 1998, the California Assembly passed a bill granting enforcement of the employment non-discrimination law to the FEHA, but Gov. Wilson refused to sign.
  • December 30, 1995: San Francisco establishes protections from discrimination based on gender identity in employment, housing, and public accommodations. Many other cities over the next several years follow suit, building momentum forward.
  • 1992-2000: Local and national organizations engage in conversations about who LGBT Californians are, and support for fully comprehensive non-discrimination grows.
  • January 1, 2000: A law takes effect transferring enforcement of the sexual orientation-inclusive employment non-discrimination law to the Fair Employment & Housing Act, strengthening the protections immeasurably. The bill to do so was passed by the California Assembly in 1999.
  • August 2, 2003: Governor Gray Davis signs into law AB 196, a bill to ensure Californians are protected from employment and housing discrimination based on gender identity. The bill clarifies that discrimination based on ‘sex’ includes discrimination based on ‘gender.’
  • September 29, 2005: Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signs into law AB 1400, the Civil Rights Act of 2005, ensuring that state laws prohibiting discrimination in public accommodations includes gender identity, sexual orientation, and marital status. The bill took effect the following January.
  • October 9, 2011: Governor Jerry Brown signs into law AB 887, the Gender Nondiscrimination Act, which directly adds “gender identity” to existing non-discrimination protections in California. While gender identity protections had been clarified previously, this bill strengthens those protections with explicit language.

Last Updated January 11, 2018

Active Litigation

Stockman v. Trump

Case Challenging Trump's Directive Banning Military Service for Transgender Americans

Key Date: April 12, 2019 • Anti-Transgender Military Ban Takes Effect
Status: Awaiting Further Action
Legal Team: Equality California, GLBTQ Advocates & Defenders, National Center for Lesbian Rights
Type: Other LGBT Litigation

On September 4 Stockman v. Trump was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California challenging Trump's attempt to reinstate a ban on open service for transgender people.

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