Legislation Ensures Equality for Residents and Workers of all Gender Identities

(Sacramento, CA, October 15, 2013)—Today, the city of Sacramento’s Law and Legislative Committee voted 4-0 to strengthen its protections against discrimination on the basis of a person’s gender identity, incorporating and augmenting existing protections under state law. This legislation, introduced by Councilmember Steve Hansen, seeks to amplify, update, and clarify the Sacramento City Code’s nondiscrimination provisions, as well as to make the Sacramento City Code fully consistent with state law, where state laws are stronger. The legislation will now move to the full City Council for consideration.

Key changes in the legislation are focused on adding gender identity and expression consistently throughout the code and requiring that city employees’ health plans comply with requirements of state law ensuring non-discrimination in health insurance for transgender individuals. The legislation also adds broadly inclusive nondiscrimination clauses to provisions of the City Code relating to City contracts; City programs; services and activities; alcoholic beverage licenses; and more—making even clearer that there is no place in Sacramento for discrimination or intolerance.

“I’m proud to see the city of Sacramento taking another step towards treating all people equally,” said Councilmember Hansen. “This legislation ensures that our residents and workers are fully protected from discrimination.”

Attorneys at the National Center of Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and Cooley, LLP worked with the councilmember to draft the law utilizing the Human Rights Campaign’s Municipal Equality Index (MEI) as a guide. Although Sacramento has been a leader in enacting LGBTQ rights legislation, the MEI noted several areas where Sacramento needed to update City law.

In addition to his work in introducing this ordinance, Councilmember Hansen has already worked with city officials and staff to implement other recommendations contained in the Human Rights Campaign’s Municipal Equality Index. As a result the City has appointed an LGBTQ liaison, actively worked to recruit LGBTQ employees and increased its participation in the LGBTQ community Pride Parade.

“Advancing the civil and human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people is a critical component of creating a just society,” said NCLR Senior Legislative and Policy Strategist Geoff Kors. “The city of Sacramento has taken a big step towards reaching this goal, and has set a strong example for others to follow.

With the passage of this legislation, all health plans offered by the city must comply with the Insurance Gender Nondiscrimination Act, codified in part at California Health and Safety Code section 1365.5. Health plans offered by the city may not discriminate against individuals because of their gender, including gender identity and gender expression, and may not limit or exclude benefits or coverage on those, or any other unlawful bases.