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Calif. Bans Campaign Gay Bashing


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Calif. Bans Campaign Gay Bashing

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

Posted: August 22, 2005 9:00 pm ET

(Sacramento, California) The California Senate passed legislation on Monday that bans the use of any negative appeal based on prejudice against gay and lesbian people by candidates or campaign committees. But, there's a condition to the Code of Fair Campaign Practices. The law would apply only to those who sign the voluntary pledge.

Nevertheless, the bill is the first of its kind in the nation.

The measure has already been passed by the Assembly and now goes to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger who has not indicated whether he will sign it. He has 12 days to make up his mind.

“I urge the Governor to immediately sign this bill into law so we can move one step closer to ending anti-gay rhetoric in political campaigns,” said Speaker pro Tem Yee.

“Candidates should not discriminate and victimize the gay and lesbian community for political purposes. Fostering campaigns that create fear and intimidation only incite a potentially dangerous situation for the gay and lesbian community.”

Equality California joined Yee in calling for Schwarzenegger to sign the bill.

“Sidelining ethics and integrity to garner votes is simply bad politics,” said EC Executive Director Geoffrey Kors.

“We cannot allow a few bad apples to hijack political campaigns and really cheapen the voting process with homophobia and anti-gay prejudice. Candidates must live up to a higher standard willing to represent all constituencies and communities. This is no gray area. Winning elections on the backs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people is just wrong and opens the door to attacks and violence against our community.

Currently, candidates can sign a voluntary Code of Fair Campaign Practices pledge which states they will not use any negative appeal or prejudice based on race, sex, religion, national origin, physical health status, or age during their political campaigns. This Code of Fair Campaign Practices and a copy of the Elections Code provisions are required to be provided by the Registrar of Voters at the declaration of candidacy, nomination papers, or any other documentation that identifies the intent to be a candidate for public office.

Studies have concluded that political hate-driven messages have been directly connected to violence against gay and lesbian people. Incidents of violence against the gay community have peaked in national elections years, particularly in the 2004 presidential election where gay and lesbian issues played an unprecedented role at both the national and local levels. In 2003, when San Francisco issued civil marriage licenses to same-sex couples, incidents of violence rose over 14 percent throughout the city.

The Senate passed two other LGBT bills on Monday.

It voted 22-15 in favor of the Civil Rights Act of 2005 to clarify that discrimination in public accommodations based on sexual orientation, gender identity or marital status is illegal. The bill now heads back to the Assembly, where it was previously passed, for a concurrence vote. It will then head to Governor’s desk for his consideration.

California law currently prohibits discrimination based on sex, race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, disability or medical condition. Although sexuality and gender identity are not specifically mentioned courts have held that they are covered. The amendments passed today formalize the court position.

In a third action Monday, the Senate passed a resolution calling on Congress to repeal don't ask, don't tell, the ban on gays serving openly in the military.

The resolution now heads for a vote in the state Assembly before becoming official.

©365Gay.com 2005


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