Itâ€™s Important That We Vote November 8
The LGBT community stands at a pivotal juncture, and California is the battleground state that both sides are focused on.
At least one anti-LGBT constitutional amendmentâ€”and possibly more than oneâ€” threatens to take away our fundamental equality in 2006. More than ever before, we will need support from our friends and allies.
Equality California PAC is urging voters to reject Propositions 73-77 not only because each of the ballot measures would harm our allies, but also because each one would negatively impact the LGBT community. Here is how:
This measure would amend the constitution to prohibit women under the age of 18 from access to a safe and legal abortion by requiring parental notification.
This measure is an attempt to amend the constitution to restrict the fundamental rights of a group of Californians by a vote of the majority. This approach is exactly what endangers our community in 2006. We must stand together to defeat attempts to deny fundamental rights to any group of people.
As many LGBT people know, not all parents are approachable about sensitive issues. To force all young women needing a safe and legal abortion to tell their parents would be like forcing all LGBT young people to come out to their parents, regardless of the danger.
This would allow public school teachers to be fired after two consecutive unsatisfactory evaluations. One danger of removing the protections of the present administrative review process for disciplinary actions is that right-wing groups will target gay teachers, forcing many of them to stay in the closet, or go back. Recently, we have seen a major push by the extreme right to target schoolteachers involved with gay-straight alliances. This measure will stifle gay teachersâ€™ ability not only to come out, but also to make it difficult for any teacher to support LGBT students.
Our teachers are the core of educating young people in California, and this could bring back the days we once feared with Proposition 6, the 1978 initiative by anti-gay legislator John Briggs, which would have banned LGBT people from teaching in public schools. If Proposition 74 passes, homophobia could be the tool to dismiss openly LGBT teachers with no just cause. Proposition 74 doesnâ€™t fix Californiaâ€™s school system; it only targets qualified LGBT teachers and may indeed open the door to an anti-LGBT agenda into our public schools.
This measure would prohibit unions representing public service employees from engaging in the political process on an equal playing field with big business and right-wing organizations. This is a direct attack on the very unions who have supported LGBT rights and equality for decades.
Proposition 75 would limit the ability of hardworking families, through their unions, to support our efforts to defeat anti-LGBT ballot measures next year. By working to assure that domestic partnership rights are part of the basic needs and working conditions at the workplace, labor groups have a long history of advocating for the LGBT community. They have helped bring some of the most basic rights to LGBT workers, and we need to help all families wanting to make sure their voice gets heard.
This measure would give the Governor power to implement across-the-board cuts in government spending that would result in funding for HIV/AIDS services and other essential needs being cut rather than big business being fairly taxed or government waste being reduced. This would impact LGBT health care and other services critical to our community.
This measure would change the rules and restrict the Legislature from redrawing district lines after the 2010 census, as current rules require, and create a system where a panel of three retired judges would be appointed to draw the new legislative boundaries. LGBT individuals have routinely been overlooked in judicial appointments and we would almost certainly be denied a seat at the table. With the California Legislature being the most LGBT-friendly in the nation, and the only one to pass marriage equality legislation, redistricting poses an enormous risk to our community.
The right wing has won past initiatives by attacking groups one at a time, based on race, sexual orientation and national origin. When we all stand together, we are no longer the minority; we are the majority. Building coalitions not only strengthens our relationships with other threatened groups, it helps to ensure that other groups will stand with us when we are under attack.
Propositions 73, 74, 75, 76 and 77 hurt our allies and hurt our community. EQCA PAC urges our community to turn out on Nov. 8 and vote no on these anti-equality, anti-working family, anti-teacher ballot measures.
Geoffrey Kors is the Executive Director of Equality California.