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Santa Cruz County, CA November 7, 2006 Election
Smart Voter

Issues Facing the GLBT Community

By Mike Rotkin

Candidate for Council Member; City of Santa Cruz

This information is provided by the candidate
The GLBT community is faced with many issues related to equality. We need to move beyond tolerance to respect and appreciation for the contributions of the GLBT community.
The major issues are lack of equality and full civil rights, discrimination in a wide variety of areas, and lack of social recognition. Despite great advances in recent years, members of the GLBT community continue to face significant discrimination in housing, employment, access to social resources, and in a wide variety areas of social life. The development of domestic partnership benefits was a great advance. Although they are hardly universal yet, they have been adopted by many public and private agencies. However, the lack of full rights to marriage and all of the legal rights that institution confers in our society remains a major obstacle to full equality. Some major problems created relate to adoption of children, medical care and inheritance rights with respect to partners, tax benefits, and some retirement and health benefits.

The issue of discrimination continues to be a significant problem, ranging from issues related to lack of equal access to society's resources through ridicule and insults, to open violence. Many of these problems are magnified in school settings. Again, we have made some significant progress on these issues in California in general, and especially in Santa Cruz, but schools remain very difficult places for young members of the GLBT community--with daily taunts, jokes, insults, threats, intimidation, and outright violence all too common.

The lack of social recognition is also a serious problem. We need to move beyond "tolerance" or "acceptance" of diverse lifestyles to a recognition and celebration of the significant contributions to our community made by many, many members of the GLBT community. We are still in a difficult period in which we are not past the risk that right-wing politicians and activists and fundamentalist religious zealots will try to undo the great progress we have made, and an unfortunately large amount of our energy is required just to defend the gains we have made so far when we should be moving to advance the struggle for full equality.

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