In another step forward for LGBTQ rights in California, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 145 into law on September 11, 2020. The new law allows the courts to judge consensual sexual acts between minors on an individual basis, regardless of their sexual orientation, according to Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey.
Why Was Senate Bill 145 Necessary?
Judges in California have the authority to determine whether an adult must register as a sex offender if convicted of having vaginal sex with a minor. The discretion applies in cases involving a minor that is 14 years of age or older, and an adult who is no more than ten years older than the minor.
However, adults convicted of engaging in oral sex or anal sex with a minor under the same conditions were automatically placed on the sex offender list. Senate Bill 145 removes the automatic placement on the sex offenders list and gives judges the discretion to make that decision.
The law equalizes the treatment of cases for couples who might be of the same sex or engage in oral or anal sex. However, Gov. Newsom and the state lawmakers who supported the bill have become political targets.
The Backlash of Signing a Bill to Reduce LGBTQ Discrimination
Members of the LGBTQ community face numerous forms of discrimination, including sex and gender discrimination, sexual harassment, and wrongful termination because of sexual orientation. California has taken steps to enact laws that protect members of the LGBTQ community from various forms of discrimination.
As with many of the laws passed in California to prevent discrimination against members of the LGBTQ community, this new law is under fire from several groups.
Some groups are claiming that California is legalizing pedophilia. The groups are using the 10-year age gap in the bill to make this claim.
However, the 10-year age gap has been included in California’s sexual offender registry law for decades, according to Sen. Scott Wiener. The new law contains the same provision regarding the age gap between the adult and the minor. Proponents of the bill argue that if the age gap made it easier for child rapists, then steps should have already been taken to revise the law to deal with that matter.
What Should You Do If You Believe You Are the Victim of LGBTQ Discrimination?
SB 145 addresses one specific issue. There are still more issues to address. Discrimination against members of the LGBTQ community continues in workplaces, courts, schools, and other places.
Common reasons for discrimination of the LGBTQ community include, but are not limited to:
- Gender identification
- Gender expression
- Sexual orientation
- HIV status
- Marital status
Employment discrimination and harassment are two common forms of discrimination that many individuals face. If you believe that you are the victim of employment discrimination or harassment, keep these things in mind:
Take Detailed Notes
Keep a notebook with notes regarding each instance of harassment or discrimination. Include the date and time of each incident, what occurred, witnesses, and who was involved. If there is evidence of the offense, such as a written or electronic document, print the document and keep it with your notes.
Review the Company Code of Conduct
Keep a printed copy of the company’s Code of Conduct with your notes. The information is generally included in the company handbook or employee handbook. Highlight the statements prohibiting specific discriminatory or harassing behavior and activities.
Follow Instructions for Reporting Discrimination and Harassment
The company policy should include a detailed procedure for reporting harassment and discrimination. Ensure that you keep copies of all documents you submit and notes about each conversation and meeting to discuss the matter.
If your employer retaliates against you for filing a report, contact a discrimination lawyer immediately. There are protections against employer retaliation for reporting discrimination or harassment.
File a Claim with the DFEH or EEOC
You may file a discrimination complaint with the DFEH or the EEOC. The procedures for filing claims are available online. However, you might want to discuss your case with a discrimination lawyer before filing a complaint.
Developing a strategy for dealing with discrimination might involve filing a complaint with one or more government agencies and also filing a discrimination lawsuit in civil court. An attorney can help you decide the best way to proceed that maximizes your chance of achieving your goals.
California has some of the most progressive anti-discrimination laws in the nation. The state expanded the list of protected classes beyond the federal list. Discrimination of any type should never be condoned or accepted.