LGBT Rights in California

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LGBT Rights in California

There are a number of different legal areas affecting lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights. These laws vary state by state with some states offering many more protections than others.

California is one of the most liberal states when it comes to LGBT rights, placing members of the LGBT community into a protected class in many situations. This guide will walk you through California’s stance on a number of different LGBT legal issues.


Same sex marriage is now legal in California, offering LGBT the same rights and protections offered to heterosexual married couples. California first began issuing same sex marriage licenses in 2008, but that effort was soon halted by voter proposition 8 which banned same sex marriage. However, in June of 2013 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled prop 8 was unconstitutional and the ban was lifted.

Adoption and Family Planning

California offers full LGBT adoption rights allowing LGBT individuals to petition to adopt children both individually and jointly as a same sex couple. LGBT individuals may also petition to adopt a same-sex partner’s child. In addition, infertilization has been legal for same sex female couples since 1976.

Discrimination Protection

In California, LGBT’s are protected from discrimination in a number of areas including housing, employment, and credit. Thus, in the same way employers and landlords are prohibited from discriminating against individuals based on race or religion, they are also prohibited from discriminating against individuals based on sexual orientation.

Further, LGBT’s are classified as a protected class and any law passed in California that discriminates against LGBT’s will be struck down unless it passes the highest level of judicial scrutiny.

Hate Crime Protection

LGBT’s are a class protected from hate crimes for the purpose of criminal prosecutions.

Conjugal Visits

Same-sex conjugal visits have been permitted in California since 2007.

FAIR Education Act

The FAIR Education Act in California compels the inclusion of contributions by LGBT individuals into school curricula. It also prohibits negative acts against LGBT in the school place.

School Success and Opportunity Act

Finally, a recent California law now allows transgender students to participate in sports and use restroom facilities without regard to their sex at birth.

Contacting an Attorney

If you believe your rights have been infringed, you should contact an attorney to help you resolve your issue.

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Last Modified: 10-06-2015 03:12 PM PDT

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