california fair housing laws

Why Are the ERA and Equality Act Not Federal Laws Already?

era and equality act

Why is California only one of 14 states to make it against the law to discriminate against LGBT people?

There are times that I can so busy selling Sacramento real estate, so wrapped up in the process and how we do things in California, that I can forget that most states in the rest of the country lag behind us when it comes to discrimination of the LGBT community. That’s putting it politely, I suppose. Lag. There shouldn’t be any politeness about common human decency. I was reminded of this while watching Jon Oliver Tonight questioning Republicans (candidates for president) about whether they would attend a gay wedding, and how none could answer that simple question, and how businesses and individuals in other states apart from California openly practice discrimination against gay people.

It’s appalling.

This is not to say that we don’t have idiots in California who also discriminate, many most likely from Jefferson territory, but at least in California such behavior is against the law. Discrimination against sexual orientation is a state law but not a federal law. Our own Federal Fair Housing Act does NOT name sexual orientation as a protected class. It’s insane that this is 2015 and our federal laws allow discrimination. But when you stop to think about it, the Equal Rights Amendment, which provides equal rights for women under the law, is NOT part of the U.S. Constitution, either. It was introduced to Congress in 1923, and it is still not ratified by all 50 states, so it is not law. Unfreakin’ believable.

We’ve been fighting for the ERA for almost 100 years!

The ERA was ratified by 35 states, 3 short of the 38 it needed to be passed into law. The holdout states were mostly southwest and southeast, but at least the ERA got the support of the state of Texas, which is remarkable onto itself. The Equality Act, talked about by Jon Oliver this week, is missing the support of those same states, plus a lot more. In fact, only 14 states and Washington, D.C. support equal rights for the LGBT community.

Gay people can now get married BUT they can be fired from their jobs, evicted from their rentals and denied service in a restaurant in 36 states in our country. Just reading those words makes my throat choke. How did we get to be so backwards in this country? How did Americans lose sight of progressiveness and our intelligence? We weathered a disgraceful period that finally legally ended in the 1960s through the Civil Rights turmoil, and this type of discrimination isn’t any different, not really.

The 1959 Unruh Civil Rights Act makes discrimination against Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transgendered individuals against the law in California. They say other states often follow what we do in California, but it’s been 56 years for us already. What’s the deal with those other 36 states?

Treating all people equal, regardless of gender or sexual orientation, should be simple for us. Easy for us to look into our hearts and do what is right, just and honest, at least from a legal standpoint. Come on, America, support the federal ERA and the Equality Act.

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