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"When all Americans are treated as equal, no matter who they are or whom they love, we are all more free."
Since 2001, the GLBT Alliance has worked to support the queer and allied community in Santa Cruz County
through political action, advocacy and education. We do this in part by keeping you informed on what's at
stake for LGBTIQ people at the federal, state, and local levels.
It is hard to think of a time in our recent history where more has been at stake for our nation. Since the inauguration of the 45th President in January 2017, many have watched in horror as the principles and institutions we hold dear—the environment, immigrant rights, racial justice, public education, journalistic integrity, worker’s rights, reproductive health justice, women’s equality, health care, and LGBTIQ civil rights—have been placed at risk.
With growing calls to activism, local movements like Indivisible have been popping up throughout the country. The GLBT Alliance aims to help support local movements by continuing to shine the light on the many risks that LGBTIQ people face in light of inevitable federal attempts to undo our equality and put us in harm’s way, under the guise of religious freedom.
At the National Prayer Breakfast on February 2, 2017, the President vowed to end the Johnson Amendment, and “allow our representatives of faith to speak freely and without fear of retribution.” This came on the heels of a leaked draft executive order that would essentially create wholesale exemptions for people and organizations who claim religious objections to same-sex marriage, premarital sex, abortion, and trans identity. While the President has not signed such an executive order as of yet, he still is likely to join Republicans in Congress in moving forward the proposed re-introduction of 2015’s failed First Amendment Defense Act, or FADA.
FADA, if enacted, would bar the federal government from taking legal action against any business, organization or individual person who refuses to provide their services to LGBTIQ people based on two sets of beliefs: "(1) marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman, or (2) sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage." The bill would invite widespread, devastating discrimination against LGBTIQ people and is deeply unconstitutional. It violates both the Equal Protection and the Establishment Clause by elevating one set of religious beliefs above all others and by targeting LGBTIQ people as a group, contrary to settled constitutional law.
There are many other aspects of LGBTIQ civil rights at stake. We invite you to read more:
Transgender Rights Under Trump—What Now? by Shannon Minter, Esq, NCLR Legal Director (11/17/2016)
Trump's shadow transition team, by Katie Glueck for Politico (11/22/2016)
How Obamacare repeal would hurt LGBT people, by Chris Johnson for the Washington Blade (11/22/2016)
Trump’s Cabinet: A who’s who of homophobia, by Michelangelo Signorile for the Boston Globe (12/15/2016)
Neil Gorsuch Has an Unacceptable, Hostile Record Towards LGBT People, statement by Lambda Legal (1/31/2017)
Rights Groups: Confirming Jeff Sessions a "Travesty," "Grave Mistake", by Trudy Ring for The Advocate (2/8/2017)
Donald Trump Wants to Tear Down the Wall—the Wall Between Church and State, by The Nation (2/9/2017)
Trump Drops Defense of Obama Guidelines on Transgender Students, by Liam Stack for the New York Times (2/11/2017)
Elsewhere Across the Nation
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has catalogued anti-LGBTIQ legislation in states across the nation and in the federal government, by category, locality and active status. Please read through their list, here: https://www.aclu.org/lgbt-nondiscrimination-and-anti-lgbt-bills-across-country.
In particular, numerous efforts across several US states targeting transgender people. These laws would prevent transgender folks from changing the gender marker on their birth certificates, impose humiliating burdens on transgender people seeking to get married, make it harder to access gender-affirming health care, and would deny access to bathrooms that align with one’s gender identity. Many of these bills specifically target children and students.
Please read: Marriage Ban, Bathroom Bill Resurface in Tennessee
California’s LGBTIQ Politics
Here in California, we have seen the election of many LGBTIQ and allied state representatives who have helped pass progressive legislation to help protect us from workplace, housing and medical discriminations, to ensure same sex married couples can access partner benefits, to prohibit LGBTIQ school bullying and include LGBTIQ history in school curriculum, and to make sure transgender students can safely access bathrooms in schools that align with their gender identity. While great progress has been made toward equality, there is still much more to be done.
With help from Equality California and the Transgender Law Center, Senators Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego) and Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) have introduced SB 179, The Gender Recognition Act of 2017, that will enable more transgender, intersex and nonbinary people to obtain state-issued identity documents that accurately reflect their gender.
The bill accomplishes this by creating a third, nonbinary gender marker on California birth certificates, driver’s licenses, identity cards and gender-change court orders. The bill also streamlines the processes for Californians to apply to the state for a change in gender on these identifying documents.
Read the bill’s language, or a press release about the proposed new law to learn more.
Local LGBTIQ Community Issues
HRC manages a “Municipality Equality Index”, or MEI score-card, rating cities across the nation for the ways they support the LGBTQ people who live and work there, even where states and the federal government have failed to do so. None of the cities within the County of Santa Cruz have been entered into the MEI to be rated. Please consider doing so!
Anti-LGBTIQ Travel Bans - County of Santa Cruz and Cities of Santa Cruz and Watsonville
On April 3, 2016, the GLBT Alliance contacted the Chair of the County of Santa Cruz Board of Supervisors, and Mayors of the Cities of Capitola, Santa Cruz, Scotts valley and Watsonville, asking that each jurisdiction enact a non-essential travel bans for County and City employee travel to North Carolina, Mississippi and any other states that enact anti-LGBTIQ discriminatory laws.
On April 19, The County Board of Supervisors voted on a travel ban measure put forward by Supervisors Ryan Coonerty and John Leopold, to ban nonessential travel to these states. We thank the Board of supervisors for their swift and effective action! Please read the County’s travel ban, here.
On June 28, the City of Santa Cruz followed suit with a travel ban for City employees, submitted jointly by then-Vice Mayor Cynthia Chase, then-Councilmember Pamela Comstock and then-Mayor Cynthia Mathews. Please read the resolution adopted by the Santa Cruz City Council, adopted unanimously on consent.
On July 5, 2016, the City of Watsonville voted to enact a travel ban of its own, thanks to then-Mayor Felipe Hernandez for coordinating this effort. Please check their website where the July 5 meeting agenda is published.