[guest post by Dana]
With Gov. Jerry Brown’s approval, California’s Democratic state Sen. Scott Weiner’s recent bills put the Golden State’s nuttery on full display. As if we needed more proof.
Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill Friday that lowers from a felony to a misdemeanor the crime of knowingly exposing a sexual partner to HIV without disclosing the infection.
The measure also applies to those who give blood without telling the blood bank that they are HIV-positive.
Modern medicine allows those with HIV to live longer lives and nearly eliminates the possibility of transmission, according to state Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) and Assemblyman Todd Gloria (D-San Diego), authors of the bill.
“Today California took a major step toward treating HIV as a public health issue, instead of treating people living with HIV as criminals,” Wiener said in a statement. “HIV should be treated like all other serious infectious diseases, and that’s what SB 239 does.”
Opponents to the bill expressed their concerns:
Republican lawmakers including Sen. Joel Anderson of Alpine voted against the bill, arguing it puts the public at risk.
“I’m of the mind that if you purposefully inflict another with a disease that alters their lifestyle the rest of their life, puts them on a regimen of medications to maintain any kind of normalcy, it should be a felony,” Anderson said during the floor debate. “It’s absolutely crazy to me that we should go light on this.”
Weiner is also defending his bill that would “allow for penalties of up to one year in jail for health care workers who “willfully and repeatedly” use the “wrong” pronouns to refer to a senior transgender patient“:
Weiner has also dismissed concerns about religious freedom regarding the criminal punishments for health care workers who don’t use transgender pronouns.
“Everyone is entitled to their religious view,” he said. “But when you enter the public space, when you are running an institution, you are in a workplace, you are in a civil setting, and you have to follow the law.”
Opponents to this bill also expressed their concerns:
“How can you believe in free speech, but think the government can compel people to use certain pronouns when talking to others?” Greg Burt of the California Family Council testified in July.
“This is not tolerance. This is not love. This is not mutual respect. True tolerance tolerates people with different views. We need to treat each other with respect, but respect is a two-way street. It is not respectful to threaten people with punishment for having sincerely held beliefs that differ from your own.”
Misgendering gets a person jail time, but knowingly exposing individuals to HIV in the Golden State isn’t that big of a deal.
It’s downright funny to read the transcript of Ronald Reagan’s taped announcement on his candidacy for California Governor from 1966. What a distant memory.
(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)