Even before Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed a notorious bill that would have legalized anti-gay discrimination in that state, a California assemblywoman quietly introduced similar legislation here.

It didn't work. A staffer at the office of Bakersfield Republican Shannon Grove tells LA Weekly that the language of her “placeholder” bill, AB 2237, is for all intents and purposes off the table. The proposal, introduced Feb. 21, intended to “provide an exception to the Unruh Civil Rights Act to protect the free exercise of religion.”

In other words it was, according to the group Equality California, …

 … a thinly veiled effort to sanction discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.


Just as Equality California, which successfully fought against the state's same-sex marriage ban, launched an “action alert” against the proposed legislation this week, Shannon's office backed off.

“I don't think we're going to be doing anything with that bill,” an official at Shannon's office told us. “She saw what happened in other states and the issue played out, and I don't think she thinks anything can be gained from doing anything right now.”

The official did, however, warn that the bill “might be morphing into something else.” What that is he wouldn't say.

Equality California's campaign allowed folks to come to its website and shoot off emails to Shannon to express opposition to the proposal.

Equality spokesman Steve Roth said Shannon is “from a conservative part of the state” and that this bill would be “playing to her base.”

He added:

It's kind of ironic. California might not be the first place where you would see one of these crop up. We want to raise people's' awareness that this can happen in California. We want people to stand up against it.

Mission accomplished.

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