Equality California, UCLA Williams Institute, American Unity Fund promote gay agenda in California; assisting lawmakers pass 127 bills

By Michael Hernandez

Equality California and the UCLA School of Law Williams Institute are promoting the gay agenda as well as the American Unity Fund—comprised of conservatives—which has funded “Freedom for All Americans”—a national campaign—also funded by the Gill Foundation (one of the largest funders of gay lobbying efforts in the nation), the Haas Jr. Fund and numerous other individual donors.

“First and foremost, we are conservatives,” said Margaret Hover, president of the American Unity Fund, a nonprofit organization devoted to advancing conservative support for LGBTQ Americans, CNN contributor and “Firing Line” host.  “We play aggressively in conservative movement politics to advance our vision of inclusion and personal freedom. We protect and promote conservative elected officials who stand up for the LGBT community, especially when they face intraparty challenges from single-issue, anti-LGBT extremists.”

Equality California with 800,000 members, is the nation’s largest statewide LGBTQ civil rights organization. This multi-million dollar organization, has corporate support from Microsoft, AT&T, Farmers Insurance, Southwest Airlines, Uber Eats, Wells Fargo, Target, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse, Bolthouse Farms, and more.

Equality California’s web states:  (We bring) “the voices of LGBTQ people and allies to institutions of power in California and across the United States, striving to create a world that is healthy, just, and fully equal for all LGBTQ people. We advance civil rights and social justice by inspiring, advocating, and mobilizing through an inclusive movement that works tirelessly on behalf of those we serve.

“In 2017, we celebrated the passage of our 127th piece of LGBTQ civil rights legislation in California, making Equality California the nation’s most effective LGBTQ advocacy and public education organization. We are working within California, at the federal level, and directly with other states to win and protect full equality for LGBTQ people.

“We are tackling the critical issues still facing LGBTQ people and our families through education, electoral, advocacy and mobilization programs to achieve our mission: full and lasting equality, acceptance and social justice for all people in our diverse LGBTQ communities, inside and outside of California. Our mission includes advancing the health and well being of LGBTQ Californians.”

The Williams Institute (WI) is dedicated to conducting rigorous, independent research on sexual orientation and gender identity law and public policy” states its website.  “A think tank at UCLA Law, the Williams Institute produces high-quality research with real-world relevance and disseminates it to judges, legislators, policymakers, media and the public.

“Experts (two dozen staff members and visiting scholars) at the Williams Institute have authored dozens of public policy studies and law review articles, filed amicus briefs in key court cases, provided expert testimony at legislative hearings, been widely cited in the national media, and trained thousands of lawyers, judges and members of the public.”

EQCA’s Feb. 16 press release argued:  “Conversion Therapy” is a “complete sham,” and a “consumer fraud.”   The WI issued a report that said, “698,000 LGBT adults in the U.S. have received conversion therapy” (which provides LGBT with options to their same-sex attraction).

According to World Magazine (June 30):   “EQCA cranked up its campaign for AB 2943—a measure that outlaws helping anyone with unwanted same-sex desires or gender confusion—with an LGBT “idea-sharing convention” at Paramount Studios on April 6th.  The headliner, U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif, attacked those who criticized the bill for trampling on freedom or religion.  She called religious exemptions a license to discriminate that ran counter to the Constitution.”

Since Gov. Jerry Brown took office seven years ago, the Legislature has passed, and Brown has signed, 45 EQCA-sponsored bills.  EQCA calls Brown “the most LGBTQ supportive governor in California history.”  One of those was last year’s SB 171, making California the first state in which individuals or their parents could choose to have “male” and “female,” or a “nonbinary gender marker” on their birth certificates, driver’s licenses, and ID cards.

The Pending Legislation 

 (Editor’s Note:   Equality California lists 15 gay bills on its website currently going through the State Legislation with additional bills anticipated, one of those, AB 2719 recognizes the needs of LGBTQ Older Adults—is authored by Assemblywoman Jacqui Irwin, D-44th District representing Thousand Oaks—and is now on the Assembly Floor.)

“Equality California’s 2018 legislative package focuses on the most vulnerable in our community and is part of our continuing effort to address the disparities in health and well-being that LGBTQ people face as a result of longstanding discrimination and lack of acceptance.

“Equality California is sponsoring the following legislation in 2018 with additional bills anticipated to be announced in coming weeks:

So-Called “Conversion Therapy” is Consumer Fraud – AB 2943 by Assemblymember Evan Low

For far too long, LGBTQ people have suffered psychological abuse by those who are entrusted to care for their emotional and psychological well-being. These dangerous practices, often referred to as “conversion therapy,” have no sound scientific basis and can cause lifelong damage. This bill would make clear in California statute that claiming to be able to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity is a fraudulent business practice that misleads consumers and exposes LGBTQ people to damaging psychological abuse. Equality California is cosponsoring this bill with the Trevor Project.

Status: Passed in Assembly with bipartisan support; to be heard next in Senate Judiciary Committee.  (Editor’s Note:  Passed Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, June 12th and has now in Senate Appropriations Committee.)

For more information about AB 2943 — including a list of supporters and frequently asked questions — please visit eqca.org/AB2943.

 Gender Health in Foster Care – AB 2119 by Assemblymember Todd Gloria

Child welfare agencies are required to assess the health needs of all young people in foster care, and to ensure they receive appropriate and timely care to address the needs identified by qualified professionals. This bill makes clear that, to meet this obligation for transgender and gender nonconforming youth, child welfare agencies must ensure access to clinicians who provide gender-affirming treatment consistent with established standards of care. Equality California is cosponsoring this bill along with the ACLU of California, Los Angeles LGBT Center, Lambda Legal, and National Center for Lesbian Rights.

Status: Passed in Assembly Human Services and Appropriations Committees; moves next to Assembly Floor. 

LGBTQ Cultural Competency Training for Teachers and School Staff – AB 2153 by Assemblymember Tony Thurmond

This bill will provide California schools with resources to support LGBTQ students and create safer school environments. LGBTQ students have higher dropout rates than their non-LGBTQ peers and continue to report missing school because of safety concerns at higher rates than non-LGBTQ students. This legislation will give teachers and school staff the training they need to provide culturally competent support for students who may be facing harassment or lack of acceptance at school, rejection at home, or discrimination in the broader community. Schools are on the front line of providing a safety net against the effects of discrimination and lack of acceptance for the LGBTQ community, which can result in higher dropout rates, lower economic success, higher rates of homelessness, higher rates of substance abuse and suicide, and all the disparities in health and well-being that LGBTQ people face. If LGBTQ students have support in school, their likelihood of overcoming these disparities and succeeding later in life increases significantly.

Status: Passed in Assembly Education Committee with bipartisan support; currently in Assembly Appropriations Committee.

LGBTQ Cultural Competency Training for Law Enforcement Officers – AB 2504 by Assemblymember Evan Low

LGBTQ people face higher rates of hate crimes and incidents, bias-based violence, harassment at the hands of law enforcement, and discrimination within the criminal justice system compared to the general population. AB 2504 requires the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (CPOST) to develop LGBTQ-specific training for peace officers and dispatchers. Improving peace officers’ ability to communicate with and serve members of the LGBTQ community will assist them in responding appropriately to situations that involve LGBTQ people, with understanding and acceptance. AB 2504 will not only educate peace officers about the LGBTQ community and build more inclusive working environments, it will create new opportunities for dialog between law enforcement officers and the marginalized communities they serve.

Establishing Services for Youth Experiencing Homelessness – SB 918 by Senator Scott Wiener and Assemblymember Blanca Rubio

Four out of ten young people experiencing homelessness in California’s major cities identify as LGBTQ. SB 918 will establish $60 million in grants for housing, services and supports for youth experiencing homelessness and create the Office of Homeless Youth within the California Department of Housing and Community Development to oversee them. This bill will invest in low-barrier and diverse housing opportunities so each county can have an array of options for youth to escape homelessness. SB 918 also requires that participating programs be safe, inclusive, non-stigmatizing, and culturally competent to address the epidemic of LGBTQ youth homelessness. Equality California is cosponsoring this bill with California Coalition for Youth, the Corporation for Supportive Housing, Housing California, John Burton Advocates for Youth, and Tipping Point.

Status: Passed in Assembly Public Safety Committee; currently in Assembly Appropriations Committee.

Increasing Access to Identification for People Experiencing Homelessness – AB 2490 by Assemblymember David Chiu

AB 2490 eliminates fees charged to people experiencing homelessness seeking to obtain certified birth certificates directly from the state. Many Californians experiencing homelessness live in counties that are not the county of their birth, and some may be unsure of their county of birth. LGBTQ young people experiencing homelessness in particular often travel to major California cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles to find acceptance, which could be a long distance from their county of birth. For some of these individuals, communicating with or even locating their county of birth to request a birth certificate is a significant hurdle. LGBTQ young people are particularly likely to be experiencing homelessness as a result of family rejection, which can make it unsafe for them to return to their former homes to gain access to their identifying documents.

 Status: Passed in Assembly with unanimous bipartisan support; moves next to Senate.

Dignity and Opportunity Act – SB 990 by Senator Scott Wiener 

This bill requires jail and prison employees to refer to transgender individuals by their preferred gender pronouns and names, and ensures that transgender people placed in solitary confinement for their own protection have equal access to programming, services, and work opportunities despite being in solitary confinement or otherwise separated from the general population. Transgender women, in particular, are often housed in male prison facilities and thus at great risk of victimization. They are frequently placed in solitary confinement, not for any transgression but rather for their own safety, and thus deprived of access to various prison services and work opportunities. Equality California is cosponsoring this bill with the ACLU of California and Lambda Legal.

Status: Passed in Senate Public Safety and Judiciary Committees with unanimous bipartisan support; currently in Senate Appropriations Committee.

Recognizing the Needs of LGBTQ Older Adults – AB 2719 by Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin

This bill will ensure that LGBTQ older adults are recognized as a population in need of special attention, and that they can access the services and support they need to maintain their health and live their lives with dignity. Equality California is cosponsoring this bill with SAGE.

Status: Passed in Assembly Aging and Long-Term Care and Appropriations Committees with unanimous bipartisan support; moves next to Assembly Floor.

 Suicide Prevention Training for Teachers and School Staff – AB 2639 by Assemblymembers Marc Berman & Patrick O’Donnell

This bill will establish standards for online training on suicide prevention for teachers and school staff to prepare them to assist young people when they need support most. The training must include a focus on high-risk populations, including LGBTQ youth. Equality California is cosponsoring this bill with the Trevor Project.

Status: Passed in Assembly Education Committee with unanimous bipartisan support; currently in Assembly Appropriations Committee.

Online Anti-Bullying Training for Teachers and School Staff – AB 2291 by Assemblymember David Chiu

AB 2291 requires public schools to provide online training annually on the dynamics of bullying and cyberbullying to teachers and school staff. It would also require the California Department of Education to post this online training module along with other available online trainings to its internet website. In addition, the bill ensures that policies and procedures relating to bullying and the prevention of bullying are included in school safety plans. Equality California is cosponsoring this bill with the Advancement Project California, Asian Americans Advancing Justice – California, and Council on American-Islamic Relations, California.

Status: Passed in Assembly Education and Appropriations Committees with unanimous bipartisan support; moves next to Assembly Floor.

LGBTQ Family Law Modernization Act of 2018 – AB 2684 by Assemblymember Richard Bloom

The LGBTQ Family Law Modernization Act of 2018 would modernize and eliminate significant inequalities in California family law to ensure that LGBTQ parents and their children have access to the same protections as any other families. Equality California is cosponsoring this bill with the National Center for Lesbian Rights.

Status: Passed in Assembly Judiciary and Appropriations Committees with bipartisan support; moves next to Assembly Floor.

Property Tax Equity for Same-Sex Partners – AB 2663 by Assemblymember Laura Friedman

This bill would provide retroactive relief to individuals who were registered as domestic partners in municipal jurisdictions and may have had their property taxes increased due to the death of a partner. AB 2663 seeks to bring equity to locally registered domestic partners who may not have registered with the state during a certain time period and ensure they can continue to afford their homes.

Status: Passed in Assembly Revenue and Taxation Committee with bipartisan support; currently in Assembly Appropriations Committee.

Updating Local Hate Crimes Policies – AB 1985 by Assemblymember Phil Ting

AB 1985 will help empower local communities to reduce rates of hate crimes. This bill provides guidance for local law enforcement agencies to update and strengthen their policies on hate crimes, focusing on recognizing hate crimes when they have occurred, engaging in appropriate response given the targeted community and the broader community, and fostering a community environment that prevents future hate crimes and incidents from occurring. Equality California is cosponsoring this bill with The Arc and United Cerebral Palsy in California.

Status: Passed in Assembly with unanimous bipartisan support; moves next to Senate.

Celebrating Intersex Infants and Families – SCR 110 by Senator Scott Wiener

This resolution calls upon the medical community to discontinue medically unnecessary, nonconsensual, and often irreparably harmful sex assignment and genital “normalization” surgeries on intersex infants at birth. Instead, an intersex individual should decide for themselves whether to pursue surgery at all, at an age when informed consent is possible. Equality California is cosponsoring this resolution with interACT.

Status: Passed in Senate Health and Judiciary Committees; moves next to Senate Floor.

Recognizing Foster Care Month – SCR 137 by Senator Ricardo Lara

This resolution designates the month of May as National Foster Care Month in the State of California and calls on all Californians to observe the month by recognizing the extraordinary role that LGBTQ parents play in the foster care system, as well as the unique challenges confronting LGBTQ foster youth. Equality California is cosponsoring SCR 137 with Family Equality Council.

Status: Passed in Senate with bipartisan support; moves next to Assembly.


Michael Hernandez, Co-Founder of the Citizens JournalVentura Countys online news service, founder of History Makers Internationala community nonprofit serving youth and families in Ventura County, is a former Southern California daily newspaper journalist and religion and news editor.  He has worked 24 years as a middle school teacher.   Mr. Hernandez can be contacted by email:  [email protected].

Mr. Hernandez is dedicated himself to advance the 13 spheresas a City Upon A Hill; developing an interactive California citizens news platform as an alternative to mainstream media; while building local school-community partnerships and supporting constitutional awareness and active citizenship.

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