A California lawmaker is asking the state to push for a national "lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer bill of rights."
Assemblyman Ricardo Lara has proposed Assembly Joint Resolution 43, which is scheduled to be considered by the Assembly Judiciary Committee today, marking its first legislative hearing. It was introduced July 2.
The resolution asks Congress and President Barack Obama to add "sexual orientation and gender identity" to statutory non-discrimination safeguards for "race, color, sex, national origin and religion."
Without such federal protections, states decide for themselves whether to bar disparate treatment of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community (LGBT), Lara said in a written statement to the judiciary committee.
"LGBT people continue to be ostracized and victimized in ways that tear families apart, devalue their humanity, affect their quality of life and can cause death," said Lara, one of seven members of the Legislature's LGBT Caucus.
The goal of AJR 43 is to ensure that gays, lesbians and others not be bullied, harassed, or discriminated against in provision of housing, hiring, pay, loan opportunities, interest rates and family leave, among other matters.
California's state laws generally prohibit discrimination against LGBT individuals, but a federal bill of rights would protect them when they travel to other states, according to an analysis by the Judiciary Committee.
AJR 43 has attracted no formal opposition thus far, the analysis said. If passed by both houses, the resolution would become legislative policy. It need not be signed by Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown.