Assemblyman John Laird, D-Santa Cruz, was curious. His bill, AB 1400, had just passed on the Assembly floor with 48 votes–one more than the number of Democrats in the Assembly.
Upon looking through the voting roll call, a surprised Laird discovered that Assemblyman Dennis Mountjoy, R-Monrovia, an ardent critic of gay marriage, had supported the bill, which amends the Unruh Civil Rights Act to include sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status or familial status to the list of categories of people protected from discrimination.
Currently, the Unruh Act only explicitly prohibits discrimination based on sex, race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, disability or medical condition, though courts have ruled that the categories are merely examples and that the law should be interpreted more broadly.
“He must have thought it was my community college bill,” laughs Laird.
Not so, says Mountjoy, who said that, “all of my votes are purposeful.”