“California Human Rights Alert” – Assembly Bill 1 (Haylings)

This document from 1984, intended to inform and spark action in citizens of California, details part of the fight for Assembly Bill 1 (AB 1), the lesbian and gay employment rights bill. The author, California state assemblyman Art Agnos, cautions that Californians must maintain pressure on governor George Deukmejian if they wish to see the bill become law. This is necessary, Agnos claims, due to the strong and blatantly homophobic opposition to the bill within the minority of the California legislature. Agnos calls for a concentrated letter writing effort to counteract this opposition and influence the governor’s decision, allowing the bill to finally become law. This document demonstrates some of the progress the gay and lesbian community had made in fighting for civil rights protections in early 1980s California. But it also shows the tone of the opposition and the challenges that needed to be overcome to consolidate those gains.

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