California

Find Your State

Know the laws in your state that protect LBGT people and people living with HIV.
YES
Does state law protect employees in the private sector from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation?
YES
Does state law protect employees in the private sector from discrimination on the basis of gender identity and/or gender expression?
YES
Does state law expressly protect employees of state and local governments from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation?
YES
Does state law expressly protect employees of state and local governments from discrimination on the basis of gender identity and/or gender expression?

All government employees are protected by the U.S. Constitution against irrational discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. In addition, some measure of protection already exists under Title VII based on gender, which has been held to include gender identity and expression.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and several courts have interpreted Title VII to protect LGBT employees. Lambda Legal maintains that the EEOC adjudications regarding Title VII’s coverage should supersede contrary authority that exists in some federal circuits.

HIV & Healthcare

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YES
Does the state explicitly ban transgender exclusions in health insurance?
YES
Does the state have laws that may be used to fight against health care discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity?
Does California have an HIV criminalization law?

YES, California has a criminal law that punishes people with an HIV diagnosis specifically for nondisclosure of HIV status prior to sexual conduct. A violation of this statute is classified as either a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on the circumstances.

Has there been at least one HIV-based criminal prosecution—brought under an HIV-specific criminal law or a general criminal law—in California in recent years?

YES, in recent years, there has been at least one criminal prosecution for HIV nondisclosure in California.

Does California have laws that criminalize or enhance the penalties for biting, spitting and/or throwing bodily fluids or substances (such as urine or excrement) if a person has been diagnosed with HIV?

NO, California does not have laws that criminalize or enhance penalties for biting, spitting and/or throwing bodily fluids or substances (such as urine or excrement) if a person has been diagnosed with HIV, but that does not mean the state could not prosecute a person engaged in such activities under general criminal laws or argue for sentence enhancements based on the person’s HIV diagnosis.

Does California have criminal laws addressing HIV+ sex workers and/or HIV+ patrons of sex workers?

YES, California also has laws that enhance punishments for HIV-positive people involved in commercial sexual transactions.  It is difficult to obtain accurate data on how often these laws are utilized in California, but there is growing evidence that in general these types of laws targeting sex workers are used much more frequently than other types of HIV criminalization laws.

Who may adopt?
Second-parent adoptions:

Expressly permitted statewide by Sharon S. v. Superior Court, 31 Cal. 4th 417 (2003). Statute also permits stepparent adoptions by registered domestic partners. See Cal. Fam. Code § 9000.

State law uses same parentage presumptions for adults in same-sex and different-sex relationships who have and/or raise children together, and also bans sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination against LGBT prospective parents in foster care/adoption.

State law uses same parentage presumptions for adults in same-sex and different-sex relationships who have and/or raise children together, and also bans sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination against LGBT prospective parents in foster care/adoption.

Public Accommodations

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YES
Public accommodations protections on the basis of sexual orientation?
YES
Public accommodations protections on the basis of gender identity?

Relationships

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YES
Does the state allow same-sex couples to marry?

Yes. Read our FAQ.

YES
Does the state offer any other type of relationship recognition for same-sex couples?

Yes, domestic partnerships.

YES
Does state law prohibit bullying in public schools?
YES
Does the law include cyberbullying?
YES
Does the law specifically mention sexual orientation?
YES
Does the law specifically mention gender identity?
Does the law also apply to private, non-religious schools?

Unclear: there is no mention of private schools in anti-bullying legislation in California.

YES
Is there a state antidiscrimination law that applies (or may apply) to schools?

Safe Place to Learn Act (AB 394)

·         Requires California Department of Education to regularly monitor schools to ensure that schools have adopted policies that prohibit discrimination and harassment and provide for receiving and investigating complaints of discrimination and harassment. Cal. Educ. Code. § 234.1 (2012)

·         Requires that the California Department of Education make information available on trainings, curricula and other resources that specifically address bias-motivated discrimination and harassment in schools. Id. at § 234.2.

Anti-Cyberbullying Law (AB 746)

·         Expands California anti-bullying laws to include bullying committed by means of an electronic act, which includes the posting of messages on a social network. Id. at § 32261(d).

FAIR Education Act (SB 48)

·         Requires schools to include curriculum content on the contributions of LGBT people to the development of California and the United States. Cal. Educ. Code. § 51204.5 (2012)

·         Prohibits teachers from giving instruction, and school districts from sponsoring, any activity that promotes a discriminatory bias on the basis of disability or LGBT identity. Id. at § 51500.

·         Prohibits the state board and any governing board from adopting any textbooks or other instructional materials for use in public schools that reflect adversely on disabled or LGBT people. Id. at § 51501.

Seth's Law (AB 9)

·         Requires each school district to adopt a policy that prohibits discrimination, harassment, intimidation and bullying on the basis of: actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender, gender identity expression, race or ethnicity, nationality, religion, disability, or association with a person or group with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics. Cal. Educ. Code. § 234.1 (2012)

·         Requires that each school district non-discrimination policy describe the district’s procedure for addressing discrimination and harassment complaints. Id.

·         Requires schools to include in their complaint procedures a written form for receiving and investigating discrimination and harassment complaints and to take immediate steps to intervene when it is safe to do so. Id.

·         Requires Department of Education to develop a model handout, which must be posted on the appropriate department websites, describing state anti-discrimination, harassment and bullying obligations. Id. at § 234.3.

·         Requires the Superintendent to post, and annually update, a list of statewide resources, including community-based organizations, that provide support to youth who have been subjected to school-based discrimination, harassment, intimidation or bullying. Id. at § 234.5.

Equity in Higher Education Act (AB 620)

·         Requires public colleges and universities to add sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression to campus anti-discrimination policies. Cal. Educ. Code. § 66251 (2012)

·         Records of all criminal and noncriminal hate violence committed on campus must be available within two business days following the request of any student, employee or media member.  Any person who is refused this information may maintain a civil action for damages against any institution that refuses to provide the information. Id. at § 67380.

·         Prior to receipt of any state financial assistance or state student financial aid, a postsecondary educational institution must provide assurance to the agency administering the funds that each program or activity conducted by the postsecondary educational institution will be conducted in compliance with the Equity in Higher Education Act. Id. at § 66290.

·         Does not apply to educational institutions controlled by a religious organization if the application would not be consistent with the religious tenets of that organization. Id. at § 66271.

Student Safety and Violence Prevention Act (AB 537)

·         Prohibits discrimination in any program or activity conducted by any postsecondary education institution that receives, or benefits from, state financial assistance on the basis of disability, gender, gender identity, nationality, race/ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or any other characteristic of hate crimes contained in the Penal Code. Cal. Educ. Code. § 220 (2012)

·         Does not apply to educational institutions controlled by a religious organization if the application would not be consistent with the religious tenets of that organization. Id. at § 221.

Comprehensive Sexual Health and HIV/AIDS Prevention Education Act (SB 71)

·         Requires school districts to ensure that all pupils in grades 7 to 12 receive HIV/AIDS prevention education from instructors trained in the appropriate courses. Each pupil shall receive this instruction at least once in junior high or middle school and at least once in high school. Cal. Educ. Code. § 51934 (2012)

·         Requires school districts to cooperatively plan and conduct in-service training for all school district personnel that provide HIV/AIDS prevention education, through regional planning, joint powers agreements or contracts services. Id. at § 51935.

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