California Governor Vetoes Gay Rights Bill, Des Moines Considers Similar Measure

For the second time, California Gov. Pete Wilson vetoed AB 257, a bill that would have prohibited discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation under the state’s Fair Employment and Housing Act.

“This is a Governor who claims to be against discrimination and in favor of strong law enforcement — but when he had a chance to protect some if the most vulnerable members of society he failed to pass the test,” said Laurie McBride, Executive Director of LIFE, a gay/lesbian lobbying group. Ellen McCormick, LIFE’s Legislative Advocate, said that over 6,000 letters of support were hand-delivered to Wilson’s office. “This bill will be introduced over and over again until we have a Governor that listens to the people.”

Meanwhile, in Des Moines, Iowa, Human Rights Commission members will ask the City Council to add sexual orientation to the municipal anti-discrimination ordinance sometime this month or next.

If passed during a possible vote after the Nov. 4 mayoral election, it would make Des Moines the third city in Iowa to legally protect gays and lesbians from discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations.

The HRC has brought the issue to the City Council twice before, but it was rejected each time. The HRC revived it last June when an employer fired six homosexual employees because he thought they had unacceptable “moral character.”


GLINN - October 10-11, 1997

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