California Hits It Out of the Park With New Laws Protecting Women, Gays, Trans People

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Presidential Candidates

+ Hillary Clinton has come out against the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a 12-nation free-trade deal brokered by President Obama. Confusingly, Clinton supported the deal, and the Pacific Rim engagement strategy it’s part of, while she was in office as Obama’s secretary of state. Now her position is that “But based on what I know so far, I can’t support this agreement . . . The risks are too high that, despite our best efforts, they will end up doing more harm than good for hard-working American families whose paychecks have barely budged in years.”

Image credit Brett Weinstein

Image credit Brett Weinstein

+ Bernie Sanders’ poll numbers are gaining on Hillary’s, especially in California.

+ Hillary Clinton has proposed a series of changes to the nation’s gun laws, with updates including universal background checks, restrictions on gun ownership if one is convicted of domestic violence, and repealing legal immunity for gun manufacturers (which is a real thing! People whose loved ones are killed by guns can’t sue gun manufacturers). Clinton has also supported the reinstatement of the assault weapons ban.

Law & Order

+ In Texas, a law against “desecrating the US or state flag” have been declared unconstitutional.

+ California’s governor has signed the California Fair Pay Act into law, making California the nation that now has the strongest equal pay protections for women in the US. The law gives employees the right to compare their salaries openly without retribution from their employer, and mandates equal pay for “substantially similar work.” It’s actually upsetting that these things are enough to make California the vanguard of equal pay, but here we are!

+ California’s Governor Brown has also signed a bill that prevents any state agency from entering into any contract of $100,000 or more with a company that doesn’t offer equal benefits to employees based on gender identity.

Order in the Court

+ California has officially become the first US state to ban the use of “gay panic” or “trans panic” defenses in court.

“There is absolutely no justification for the use of ‘panic defenses,’” Bonilla said in a statement last month. “Clearly this tactic has been utilized by defendants, unjustly targeting members of the LGBT community, based on damaging stereotypes. With AB 2501, we are moving forward to ensure equality in our courts and making it very clear that discrimination against the LGBT community is intolerable and unacceptable.”

Everything Else

+ Latino business owners in Milwaukee have been receiving racist hate mail. The owner of Fiesta Salon and Spa says “This is sending a really bad message and it really makes me feel very, very unsafe.”

+ Tennessee, like several other US states, has implemented a program that drug tests recipients of welfare aid depending upon their answers to required survey questions. Their first year of testing found less than 0.2% of welfare recipients were using drugs, and spent (at a wildly conservative estimate) about $200 per drug test.

+ The Republican-controlled House of Representatives has created a new panel to investigate Planned Parenthood. Phew! Glad someone’s on top of that. Was worried there weren’t enough panels in the mix.

+ The Atlantic has a piece on Alan Chambers, and his take on the rise and fall of “ex-gay” in America.

+ The Vatican is holding a synod on the family, and a press officer has said that “several bishops raised the need for new language and a new approach to gay Catholics,” calling gay people “our sons and daughters.”

+ An anti-vaccination group, Safe Minds, funded a study that attempted to link vaccines with autism and now frustrated that while results from a study trial seemed as though they might suggest a link, when the study was expanded and run according to proper methodological standards, no link between vaccines and autism was found.

+ A new poll finds that a full 81% of 18-35 year old Americans support a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who have children or arrived to the US as children, and 78% believe in birthright citizenship. Those numbers rise to 91% and 86% respectively when looking only at 18-21 year olds.

+ A 12-year-old black boy in Glendale, Ohio was suspended for “staring at” a white girl in his class. The kids say that they were having a staring contest at the time. The boy’s parents have filed to have the suspension overturned, but a judge has refused.

+ In a story that’s still developing, a Doctors Without Borders facility in Kunduz, Afghanistan, was bombed by US forces. Doctors Without Borders says that even aside from the loss of life in the bombing itself, the incident has left tens of thousands of Afghans without access to medical care. Obama reportedly called DWB International President Joanne Liu and offered “a heartfelt apology.”

+ The plainclothes police officer who assaulted tennis great James Blake because he allegedly mistook him for a suspect in a case is being charged with excessive force, and could be suspended or dismissed.

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Originally from Boston, MA, Rachel now lives in the Midwest. Topics dear to her heart include bisexuality, The X-Files and tacos. Her favorite Ciara video is probably "Ride," but if you're only going to watch one, she recommends "Like A Boy." You can follow her on twitter and instagram.

Rachel has written 1142 articles for us.


  1. Hillary is only saying what she’s been saying on not only the TPP, but Keystone XL, etc, because it’s politically expedient. It’s a pretty clear move to co-opt the rhetoric of the Sanders campaign and get votes….in other news, YAY CALIFORNIA!

  2. I hate when the prefix, trans, is attached to anything other than gender because whenever I see it, I think it’s about trans people for a split second. And I’m like, “What? Oh, not about me.” Does this happen to anyone else?

    But I’m so happy California banned gay panic and trans panic. Every state should. It’s the worst.

  3. ‘Obama reportedly called DWB International President Joanne Liu and offered “a heartfelt apology.”’

    Gosh, how dang helpful.

  4. I’m involved in CA politics and I keep seeing that article about CA banning the “trans panic” defense, and that law was passed/signed last year! Idk why it irks me that people are talking about it as if it just happened but it does…why is this being talked about now? Did some big LGBT website just discover that it happened and posted it now? I mean obviously I’m happy that it happened, but come on people…

  5. That law banning “trans-panic defense” was passed in 2014, article is from 2014. But still good that it exists!

    • I think most people puts great faith in things like “provide a transparent, thorough and objective accounting of the facts and circumstances of the incident…”

      Can you imagine the US under a war crime investigation? I think a kind of George W. Bush whirl in this matter is coming next.

    • Nope, that’s not it. For whatever reason it’s prefixing the url to this page and a space prior to the actual link

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