Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Local LGBT Leaders Join HRC to Announce Endorsement of Scott Peters for Congress 

SAN DIEGO – San Diego LGBT leaders joined the The Human Rights Campaign – the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization – today to announce their endorsement of Rep. Scott Peters for re-election to the U.S. House in California’s 52nd district. Peters has a stellar record on LGBT equality and has been steadfast in his support of marriage equality in California and across the country.

"Scott Peters has proved himself to be a leader and a strong advocate for equality," said Fred Sainz, HRC Vice President for Communications. "As the nation moves rapidly to embrace full LGBT equality, Scott’s voice on Capitol Hill will echo those of his fair-minded constituents and Americans across the country."

"I've been proud to work alongside HRC for years in the fight for full equal rights for everyone," Peters said. "My father fought for racial equality during the civil rights movement when I was young, and I'm proud to continue that legacy at the forefront of the battle for full LGBT equality, the most important civil rights issue of our time."

In San Diego, members of HRC San Diego were joined by City Council President Todd Gloria, former State Senator Christine Kehoe, and Stampp Corbin, former Co-Chair of the 2008 Obama for America presidential campaign's National LGBT Leadership Council, and National Board of Directors emeritus for the Human Rights Campaign, 1995-2003, and other community leaders.

"Scott Peters has demonstrated throughout his career the ability to achieve bipartisan progress and the courage to speak out for equal rights," said Council President Gloria. "He has the deeply-held sense of justice and commitment to full equality that San Diegans can count on to move our country closer to achieving the civil rights victory of our generation."

Scott Peters "is a long-time true supporter of full equality for LGBT San Diegans," said former Senator Christine Kehoe, who was the city's first openly gay elected official. "And more than that, he's able to work with all parties to get things done, to move things forward, to avoid gridlock, and to be a strong representative for the people of his congressional district, for our city, and for our state."

"Scott Peters has always been on the side of justice equality and fundamental fairness for all Americans," said Tanner Songer, political co-chair of HRC San Diego, echoing the endorsement of the national organization. "The greatest challenges lie ahead of us, and we can't continue our momentum without allies like Scott on our side."

"For the LGBT community, the choice could not be more clear: One political party that supports our equality and one that doesn't," emphasized Corbin. "So when you cast your vote in November, as I will with all my heart, that vote should be for Congressman Scott Peters' reelection."

County Supervisor Dave Roberts also issued an endorsement statement, saying:

"Congressman Scott Peters deserves the support of the LGBT community. He has been a stalwart supporter of equality. Congressman Peters works hard for all San Diego County residents. It is important to me that elected officials work together, regardless of party affiliation. We agree that the citizens and our region come first."

Peters is a strong supporter of LGBT equality, including marriage equality. He is a cosponsor of the Respect for Marriage Act (RMA) which would repeal the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in its entirety. He also is also a cosponsor of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), the Safe Schools Improvement Act, the Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act and other key legislation.

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.

Speaker John A. Pérez Creates Select Committee on Women in the Workplace, Names Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez as Chair

SACRAMENTO — (Tuesday, April 8, 2014) – California State Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez today announced the creation of the Assembly Select Committee on Women in the Workplace and named Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) as its chair.

“I have formed the Select Committee on Women in the Workplace with the expectation that it will address the whole range of issues from wages to working conditions and everything in between,” said Speaker Pérez (D-Los Angeles). “I have asked Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez to lead this important effort. She is a talented and thoughtful advocate for California’s women, and I am confident she will put forward innovative and insightful suggestions on ways we can close the gap and ensure every woman in California earns a fair wage for the work she does.”

Speaker Pérez made the announcement on Equal Pay Day, part of an ongoing national campaign to increase awareness about pay inequality for working women.

“Equal Pay Day is our annual reminder that more and more families are relying on women to be breadwinners and that our economy works best when we acknowledge and accommodate the realities working women face,” said Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego). “As a single working mother myself, I face this reality every day and I am very excited to work with my colleagues to seek solutions that break down barriers to employment, accommodate women’s roles in their families as well as their jobs, and bring a greater dose of equity to the workplace.”

The Select Committee on Women in the Workplace will focus on challenges faced by women in the workforce including the changing role of women in society, how to ensure pay equity and opportunity for women, the health and well-being of women in the workplace, and the impact on family life.

The members of the Select Committee on Women in the Workplace are:

Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D-Oakland)
Assemblymember Nora Campos (D-San Jose)
Assemblymember Brian Dahle (R- Bieber)
Assemblymember Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens)
Assemblymember Roger Hernández (D-West Covina)
Assemblymember Marc Levine (D-San Rafael)
Assemblymember Henry Perea (D-Fresno)
Assemblymember Sharon Quirk-Silva (D-Fullerton)
Assemblymember Nancy Skinner (D-Los Angeles)
Assemblymember Marie Waldron (R-Escondido)

 Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez represents the 80th Assembly District, which includes Chula Vista, National City and the San Diego neighborhoods of City Heights, Barrio Logan, Paradise Hills, San Ysidro and Otay Mesa. For more information, visit

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Reaffirms Support for Captive Orca Welfare and Safety Act

A.B. 2140, Which Would End Captive Orca Performances, Will Be Considered by Gonzalez and Committee Colleagues Tuesday

SACRAMENTO – (Monday, April 7, 2014) – California State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) made the following statement about Assembly Bill 2140 (Bloom) in anticipation of the Assembly Committee on Water, Parks and Wildlife’s consideration of the bill on Tuesday morning:

“Upon learning a few weeks ago that Assemblyman Bloom would be authoring Assembly Bill 2140, I told the media that I was inclined to support his proposal. Since then, I have studied the issue carefully and consulted with many experts involved in the debate – including representatives from SeaWorld and independent experts in the field – in hopes of understanding the landmark changes Mr. Bloom is hoping to accomplish with A.B. 2140.

“Barring any new information that could change my mind tomorrow, I plan to strongly support A.B. 2140 and vote to bring an end to the practice of holding orcas in captivity solely for entertainment purposes in California.  As a longtime advocate for the environment and for worker safety, I am greatly concerned by the practice of confining orcas’ living environments, sequestering them from their natural social organizations, forcing them to perform circus tricks for huge profits, and endangering the well-being of employees by putting them in hazardous situations. Of these, I’m most familiar with the attempts by the local operator of orca shows to oppose measures to increase worker safety and that unfortunately doesn’t bode well for their credibility on the other issues raised by A.B. 2140.

“SeaWorld’s most compelling arguments to continue the performance of captive orcas for entertainment purposes have been economic in nature. The reason to carry on with these dangerous orca performances, SeaWorld says, is because they generate profits.

“To those who oppose this legislation, I take no satisfaction in making two predictions:  First—you on the wrong side of history, and that within my lifetime this indefensible practice will be outlawed. Second – tragically, another employee will be hurt or killed by a distressed orca, and predictably, management will blame the victim and call it ‘trainer error.’ Neither of those facts can be justified by profits.”

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez represents the 80th Assembly District, which includes Chula Vista, National City and the San Diego neighborhoods of City Heights, Barrio Logan, Paradise Hills, San Ysidro and Otay Mesa. For more information, visit

Block urges national ban on cosmetic animal testing

SJR 22 approved by State Senate and heads to Assembly; Mayim Bialik ‘Big Bang Theory’ actress, Cruelty Free International supporter endorses SJR 22

SACRAMENTO – California’s Senate today approved a measure by State Senator Marty Block (SD-39) that urges the U.S to join California, the European Union (EU), and the countries of Norway, India, and Israel in banning animal testing of cosmetic products.

Block’s joint resolution, SJR 22, approved on a bipartisan vote of 31-0, urges the federal government to mandate alternative methods to animal testing when other testing methods are available. It is sponsored by Cruelty Free International and also supported by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the Animal Legal Defense Fund, the State Humane Association and others.

“Unnecessary cruelty is unforgiveable,” Block said. “Animal testing by the cosmetics industry is usually unnecessary and often unreliable. Where other means of ensuring product safety are available, they should be used.”

“Cruel” tests on rabbits, guinea pigs and mice include force-feeding of animals with testing substances or repeated application of substances to an animal’s skin. After the experiments, the animals are then killed. Block and Cruelty Free International argue that more reliable, quicker, and less expensive alternatives are available and should be used. Alternatives include computer modeling and tests on human skin donated from cosmetic surgery or examination of proteins in-vitro (in a test tube).

Actress Mayim Bialik who portrays Amy Farrah Fowler on the hit show “The Big Bang Theory” is a Cruelty Free International supporter. “I am thrilled to join Senator Marty Block in asking the California Legislature to support SJR 22, the Cruelty Free Cosmetics Resolution.” She added, “For over a decade California has been a leader in supporting the use of modern non-animal tests to ensure cosmetics safety. It’s time that the rest of the nation catches up with California as well as other counties on this issue. I am proud to stand with Senator Block in calling for cruelty free testing.”

North America Campaign Manager for Cruelty Free International Monica Engebretson also emphasized that product safety is possible without the use of the older, more inhumane testing. “Our success in ending cosmetics testing on animals in the European Union has proven that it is possible and safe to create cosmetics without animal testing,” Engebretson said.

California became the first state to restrict animal testing in 2000. Some countries such as those in the EU have completely banned the importation and sale of animal-tested products. EU sales account for nearly half of the global cosmetics market.

SJR 22 also calls on the U.S. Congress to enact legislation that would establish reasonable deadlines for the prohibition on the testing and marketing of products which have been tested on animals.