Post submitted by Paul Guequierre, HRC Deputy Communications Director
Last month we celebrated major victories for marriage equality at the Supreme Court. Most of us cheered as the Justices told us California’s discriminatory Prop. 8 was a thing of the past. Most of us, but not California state Rep. Brian Nestande (R).
Nestande has a long record of legislating against the LGBT community. And now he’s running against Raul Ruiz, the pro-equality Democrat who represents the Palm Springs area in Congress. Let’s take a look at Rep. Nestande’s record.
Nestande supported Prop. 8 and opposed other attempts to bring marriage equality to the Golden State. This doesn’t come as a total surprise if you believe in the “like father, like son” theory. In 1977 Brian Nestande’s father Bruce, who also served in the legislature, authored the law that defined marriage as between one man and one woman after he heard of a single case of a gay couple applying for a marriage license in Orange County. I guess the apple doesn’t fall far the tree. In 2009, Brian Nestande voted against legislation that recognized same-sex marriages performed in other states before California voters approved Proposition 8.
Brian Nestande even opposed a bill to recognize Harvey Milk Day. Fortunately this bill passed and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger – also a Republican – signed the bill into law dedicating May 22 of every year to the LGBT rights pioneer.
In 2011, Rep. Nestande voted against legislation that would alter the meaning of gender for the purposes of discrimination laws so that California law would prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity and gender expression. Fortunately this bill also passed and became law.
Rep. Raul Ruiz is a staunch supporter of equality for all. He opposed Prop 8 and supports marriage equality. HRC proudly supports Rep. Ruiz, and his vision of the future that incorporates equality for all, not a return to the discriminatory practices of the past. Let’s keep California moving forward with pro-equality legislators like Ruiz, rather than returning to the discriminatory past with Nestande.