Though we as a state have made great stride toward ensuring equality and ending discrimination based on sexual orientation, there is still much work to be done to secure the safety and full protection of rights for the LGBTQ community. In California, the LGBTQ community still faces discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations, healthcare, and more.
Same-sex couples still face serious challenges when seeking to adoption or foster parent, alternative insemination, assisted reproduction, child custody and visitation, and partnership protection; they are denied surviving partner rights and other healthcare issues like living wills, medical power of attorney, senior and assisted-living facilities, sex reassignment surgery, family planning, fertility treatment, a women’s right to choose, and HIV status all need to be addressed. Bi-national couples are still not recognized by immigration law, yet face persecution based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and HIV status, which should be a recognized cause for seeking asylum. Our LGBTQ youth still suffer from school harassment and bullying.
Despite Califorinia’s May 2008 victory where the Supreme Court held same-sex couples have the constitutional right to marry, in November 2008 California voters passed Proposition 8. This initiative amended the California Constitution to provide recognition of marriages held only between a woman and a man. Though challenges to Proposition 8 were not successful in State court, in August 2010 United States district court Judge Vaughn R. Walker overturned Prop. 8 in Perry v. Schwarzenegger. The case is now on appeal before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Protection of and advocacy for marriage equality and relationship recognition, including civil unions and domestic partnerships, is an important aspect of the full integration of the LGBTQ community because it affects many of the issues listed above with regard to partner and family protections.
CCRC is fighting for all of the protections and more. Our members are engaged in litigation efforts on both the state and federal level as well as offer direct services and take part in advocacy and policy changes to ensure the LGBTQ community’s civil rights are secured and protected.