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Bill to protect
gays in government programs advances in California

Bill to protect
gays in government programs advances in California

A bill to prevent discrimination in state-operated or state-funded programs on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity was approved by the California senate judiciary committee on Wednesday. The bill now moves to the senate floor.

"We applaud the senate judiciary for standing up for fairness and equality under the law," said Alice Kessler, a legislative advocate for the gay rights group Equality California who testified at the hearing. "Private businesses must adhere to nondiscrimination laws that include sexual orientation and gender identity. We should hold state government to the same standard."

The measure would also include protections for any person associated with a person who has or is perceived to have any characteristic covered by the bill. "I'm pleased with the committee's vote affirming that people should be protected from discrimination regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity," said Sheila Kuehl, a lesbian senator. "The programs and services provided by our state government are critical, and we must never deny equal access." (The Advocate)

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