Juan and Ken Ahonen-Jover

Why the Victory in California is so Special

Filed By Juan and Ken Ahonen-Jover | June 01, 2008 12:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics, Politics
Tags: California marriage equality, eQualityGiving, LGBT civil rights

The decision by the California Supreme Court that same sex couples have the same right to marry as anybody else makes California the first state in the Union where LGBTQ people are treated fully equal under the law. For example, in Massachusetts, where same sex couples can also marry, there are important transgender protections missing that other states like California have.

LGBTQ Californians have equal rights with legislation in these six important areas:

  1. Hate Crimes laws that address violent crimes against individuals due to their sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.
  2. Laws that forbid discrimination in employment for both private and public employees, and housing, finance, and public accommodations due to sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.
  3. The right to marry a person of the same gender.
  4. Transgender protections, including issuing a new certificate with the new gender and name (without indicating the prior name or gender).
  5. Anti-bullying/anti-harassment laws that specifically list sexual orientation and gender identity.
  6. Allowing LGBTQ people to adopt as singles, and jointly adopt if desired, as well as second-parent adoption.

California is the only state to have 6 out of 6. But remember that LGBTQ Californians are not yet equal in the eyes of the federal government. They still cannot serve openly in the military and their marriages are not recognized yet by the federal government.

New Jersey and Vermont have 5 out of 6. Massachusetts, despite having marriage equality, has 4 out of 6 because important transgender protections are missing. With the support of the legislature and Governor Patrick, Massachusetts could provide full equality for our community soon.

Florida, where we live, has a mere 1.5 out of 6!

Half of the states get a rating of only 0 or 1. So there is a lot of work to be done. You can check state by state comparisons with this neat scorecard. Or even better, before seeing how your state ranks, try to guess its score by taking this Equal and Gay Quiz.

So we need to congratulate California not only on marriage, but also for providing, for the first time, full legal equality to its LGBTQ residents!

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Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | June 1, 2008 1:05 PM


Thanks for the great list and breakdown. Very useful.

I agree! eQualitygiving.com is an amazing resource. I encourage all of our readers to visit the site and get involved!

Indiana rates 1.0 out of 6.0