Due to recent events in California, I am starting to have a finer appreciation for "The Golden State". During the last couple of weeks, two major pieces of legislation have been voted upon which are helping to put an end towards LGBTQ discrimination and pissing off a few religious zealots. Before going further, you know I am already happy about this when we are pissing off the religious bigots of this country.
To begin with, California Governor Jerry Brown, signed into law AB 1266 which allows children who identify with a particular gender to use that gender's bathroom, regardless of their sex at birth. This is a monumental mile stone for the trans community and is allowing young boys and girls the freedom to express themselves and not be discriminated against in schools or public places. Not that long ago, the well known case of Coy Mathis (http://www.chicagonow.com/joeys-corner/2013/06/colorado-allows-transgender-student-to-use-bathroom/) happened in Colorado and created a buzz in the state about this issue. Thankfully, Colorado also saw this as being a civil right and supported Coy who was not allowed to use the girl's bathroom in school, even though she identifies as being female.
Of course, this bill does not come without some bigoted backlash. Numerous citizens and religious groups are angry over this new law saying, "What will California do when all these 'fake girls' start raping the real ones in the bathroom?" and other vulgar and horrible comments. Brad Dacus (President of the Pacific Justice Institute) was quoted stating that AB 1266 will create "extreme violation of privacy" and lead to "horrendous" mental and emotional ramifications. Really Brad? Really? To my readers, I suggest you research this bill and look at the atrocious comments that people are saying. There are some that I can not bring myself to post on here due to the hate and ugliness of the comment. However, it has still be signed into law, so fuck you bigots!
Now onto the other legislation that is happening in California right now, and making me have a great day..
Senate Bill 323, otherwise known as the Anti Boy Scouts Bill, was introduced by Senator Lara (D) from Los Angeles during the middle of February. As stated in the Anti Boy Scouts Bill, SB323 will, "provide that an organization that is a public charity youth organization that discriminates on the basis of gender identity, race, sexual orientation, nationality, religion, or religious affiliation is NOT exempt from [state taxes]". In other words, if you are a non-profit organization that is tax exempt in California and thinks its ok to discriminate against queer youth, you are going to loose your tax exempt status. WOOHOO! This is one of the best legislative bills that I have ever heard coming into existence.
Interestingly, the Anti Boy Scouts Bill also names specific organizations that need to change their policies before they lose their tax exempt status: Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, Little League, Young Men's Christian Association, Young Women's Christian Association, Future Farmers of America, Future Homemakers of America, 4-H Clubs, Boy's Clubs, and Girl's Clubs.
Currently, the Anti Boy Scouts Bill has passed the California Committee on Revenue and Taxation by a 6-3 vote, and has made its way to the Committee on Judiciary. Don't worry, I'll keep you posted as more news comes.
Individuals who are supporting the bill, such as John O'Conner (Equality California), say that the bill will "make it clear...discrimination has a real cost". Father of the bill, Sen. Lara, is quoted as stating, "Our state values the important role that youth groups play in the empowerment of our next generation...this is demonstrated by rewarding organizations with tax exemptions supported financially by all Californians. SB323 seeks to end the unfortunate discriminatory and outdated practices by certain youth groups by revoking their tax exemption privilege should they not comply with our non-discrimination laws". Well said!
Although, you know that there are some bigoted fools out there who are shouting that this law is unconstitutional. Lori Arnold (California Family Alliance) bitched that, "[SB323]...is that its blatant use of extortion holding nonprofit groups financially hostage...instills its own form of discrimination by trampling individual and organizational religious beliefs by labeling them 'outdated practices', practices that are protected by the First Amendment". Now, Ms. Arnold, you are right that your organizations are protected by the First Amendment to say stupid shit or have a religious agenda, however you can do that and NOT use a tax exempt status. If you want to preach such hatred to youth, then do it without the help of the state. No one is saying that they need to change the entire organization, just remove the hatred or not collect financial assistance. It is as easy as that. And if you are worried about the financial future of these groups, well then collect money from the bigoted individuals that want these groups to continue with their outdated practices. However, should you find that no one is financially supporting these groups, that might tell you something about the changing times.
In closing, I applaud you California to take a stand against discrimination of the LGBTQ community, especially following the recent news on Prop 8 and DOMA. I hope that other states start to follow this lead and tell hateful and discriminatory nonprofits to change or find your own financial support.
Keep posted to my blog for updates on the Anti Boy Scouts Bill and other legislation happening to help the future of the human race.