California Legislative LGBT Caucus
The California Legislative LGBT Caucus is an American political organization formed in June 2002 and composed of openly lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender members of the California State Legislature. The caucus currently has eight members, which is a record held over three non-consecutive sessions.
This group is contrasted to other LGBT Equality Caucuses in that the California caucus consists entirely of LGBT legislators while other LGBT Equality Caucuses consist of all orientations. Both, however, promote the promulgation of LGBT-affirming laws within the legislature.
The caucus was established to champion legislation that advances equality and the rights of LGBT Californians. Its members have introduced and passed numerous measures related to gay rights, including two same-sex marriage bills (both vetoed by the governor), bills prohibiting discrimination in state government, tackling orientation-based bullying in schools and adequately funding HIV/AIDS treatment. In December 2008, in the wake of the passage of Proposition 8, members of the LGBT Caucus pushed a resolution expressing the legislature's opinion that the proposition was unconstitutional.
In addition, the caucus sponsors an annual LGBT Pride Exhibit every June and presents the LGBT Pride Recognition Awards to outstanding Californians. In 2006, several Republican legislators boycotted the awards ceremony, walking off the Assembly floor as the awards were presented. This boycott stalled the ceremony for several years until 2009 when it was resurrected. In each year since, many Republicans have boycotted the ceremony.
Feature in a documentary
In addition, there has been one gay member of the legislature who, despite being open about his sexual orientation, was not a member of the caucus. Republican state senator Roy Ashburn from Kern County came out in March 2010 after having been arrested while driving under the influence on his way home from a gay bar. He served the remaining eight months of his term but did not join the caucus.
There have also been members of the legislature who, though not open about their sexuality at the time they served in public office, subsequently declared themselves gay or lesbian. Dennis Mangers, who represented Orange County in the Assembly from 1976 to 1980, married his partner of 17 years, Michael Sestak, in June 2008. Art Torres, who served 8 years in the Assembly and 12 in the State Senate before going on to spend 13 years as chair of the California Democratic Party, came out publicly in April 2009.
|Name||Residence||Party||Years in Assembly||Years in Senate|
|Cathleen Galgiani||Livingston||Democratic||2006–2012[Note 1]||2012–present|
|Toni Atkins||San Diego||Democratic||2010–2016||2016-present|
|Ricardo Lara||Bell Gardens||Democratic||2010–2012||2012–present|
|Todd Gloria||San Diego||Democratic||2016–present||—|
|Scott Wiener||San Francisco||Democratic||—||2016–present|
- Galgiani came out in November 2011
|Name||Residence||Party||Years in Assembly||Years in Senate|
|Sheila Kuehl||Santa Monica||Democratic||1994–2000||2000–2008|
|Carole Migden||San Francisco||Democratic||1996–2002||2004–2008|
|Christine Kehoe||San Diego||Democratic||2000–2004||2004–2012|
|Jackie Goldberg||Los Angeles||Democratic||2000–2006||—|
|John Laird||Santa Cruz||Democratic||2002–2008||—|
|Tom Ammiano||San Francisco||Democratic||2008–2014||—|
|John Pérez||Los Angeles||Democratic||2008–2014||—|
|Mark Leno||San Francisco||Democratic||2002–2008||2008–2016|
|Rich Gordon||Menlo Park||Democratic||2010–2016||—|
Chronology of openly LGBT legislators
The table below shows members of the legislature who were openly LGBT at the time they served. It extends back to the election of the first openly gay member of the California legislature: Sheila Kuehl (elected November 1994). The caucus was founded in 2002.
Note: Roy Ashburn came out in March 2010, having served since 1996 (Assembly, 1996–2002; Senate, 2002–2010). Cathleen Galgiani came out in November 2011, having served in the Assembly since 2006.
|Term of office||Name||Chamber|
- "California Legislative LGBT Caucus Elects Laird Chair". California State Assembly. 2006-12-05. Archived from the original on 2008-06-13. Retrieved 2008-06-04.
- "California Legislature's gay caucus introduces anti-Prop. 8 resolution". Sacramento Bee. 2008-12-03. Archived from the original on December 16, 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-31.
- "GOP Lawmakers Walk Out Over Gay Recognition". News10. 2006-08-14. Retrieved 2008-06-04.[dead link]
- "Over GOP objections, Assembly proclaims Pride". Bay Area Reporter. 2009-06-25. Retrieved 2009-06-28.
- Stephen Farber (June 8, 2016). "'Political Animals': LAFF Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved June 21, 2016.
- Hindery, Robin (March 8, 2010). "Calif state senator says he's gay after DUI arrest". Associated Press. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Archived from the original on March 10, 2010. Retrieved March 8, 2010.
- "Gay couples are emphasizing low-key weddings". Los Angeles Times. 2008-06-16. Retrieved 2008-06-17.
- "Former Dem chair Torres comes out". Bay Area Reporter. 2009-04-30. Retrieved 2009-04-30.
- "LGBT Caucus elects Assemblyman Mark Leno as Chair". California State Assembly. 2003-11-06. Retrieved 2008-06-04.
- "Political Notebook: Laird aims to keep LGBT caucus alive". Bay Area Reporter. 2006-12-21. Retrieved 2008-06-04.
- "Political Notebook: Leno gets chair". Bay Area Reporter. 2008-01-29. Retrieved 2009-01-29.
- "Equality California Congratulates New LGBT Caucus Chair Assemblymember Tom Ammiano". 2010-03-19. Retrieved 2010-07-17.
- "Kehoe to chair California LGBT Legislative Caucus". Del Mar Times. Retrieved 2011-01-14.
- "Gordon to seek second state Assembly term". San Mateo Daily Journal. 2012-01-20. Retrieved 2012-01-25.
- "CA LGBT caucus elects first inland lawmaker as chair". Bay Area Reporte. 2015-01-15. Retrieved 2015-01-20.
- "Assemblymember Evan Low elected to serve as chair; Senator Ricardo Lara elected to serve as vice chair of the CA Legislative LGBT Caucus".