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County Urged to Push for State Ban on Gay Job Bias

April 11, 1985|JACK JONES | Times Staff Writer

Los Angeles County supervisors should push for renewed passage of a state law prohibiting job discrimination against homosexuals, the County Commission on Human Relations contends in a report being released today.

In the event a state measure is not passed, the supervisors should draft a county ordinance outlawing this type of discrimination, the commission urged. Gov. George Deukmejian vetoed similar legislation last year.

Those are among a half-dozen recommendations being submitted by the commission as the result of a hearing last June in West Hollywood on the prejudice and discrimination confronting gay men and lesbians in Los Angeles County.

Although the 15-member commission "reflects a wide range of beliefs and attitudes about homosexuality, it approved the report unanimously," Executive Director Eugene Mornell said. "Discrimination and unfair treatment cannot publicly be condoned and must be reduced and eliminated."

Suggestion Supported

During the hearing in June, after attorney-activist Stephen Weltman urged the commission to recommend adoption by the supervisors of a county ordinance banning discrimination on the basis of sexual preference, Commissioner Morris Kight and several of his colleagues said they would support such a suggestion.

But they doubted that the Board of Supervisors, with its conservative majority, would comply.

In addition to the two recommendations directed expressly at the supervisors, the commission concluded that:

- The county Department of Health Services and Mental Health Department should draw on the available professional expertise in the gay and lesbian community to educate staff members about that community's needs.

- The county health department should make a greater effort to educate the public about acquired immune deficiency syndrome, or AIDS, since everything points to the disease "continuing to be a serious problem." AIDS primarily afflicts male homosexuals.

- The Children's Services Department and other county agencies serving youth "should establish a clear and consistent policy for dealing effectively with young homosexuals."

- Each television network should develop "a firm and consistent policy to bring about a more balanced and realistic portrayal of gays and lesbians."

In the report, which deals with "myth and reality about gays and lesbians in Los Angeles County," the commission says it found in the hearing that sexual orientation is established early in life and that there is no significant difference in the incidence of antisocial behavior of homosexuals and heterosexuals.

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