Santa Monica has joined dozens of other local governments and signed on to two separate amicus briefs designed to uphold LGBTQ and immigrant rights.
One brief, signed by a coalition of 26 cities and counties, is in defense of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program as the administration move to terminate it. The other brief, signed by 70 cities, “responds to the case Masterpiece Cakeshop Ltd. vs. Colorado Civil Rights Commission where a Colorado baker refused to make a wedding cake for a same sex couple” in anticipation of the December 5 Supreme Court hearing on the matter, according to city officials.
“We join our neighbors in Los Angeles and cities across the country in standing up for equality and condemning the denial of services based on sexual orientation,” said Mayor Ted Winterer in a press release announcing Santa Monica’s decision to sign on to the Masterpiece Cakeshop brief. “This kind of behavior damages communities and is in complete opposition to the values of Santa Monica.”
In the same release, Santa Monica’s new City Attorney Lane Dilg said, “Religious freedom is not a license to discriminate. Same-sex couples are entitled to equal dignity in the eyes of the law, and the City of Santa Monica is committed to anti-discrimination laws that will ensure that businesses that are open to the public are open to all.”
In a release about the DACA brief, Winterer wrote, “While the federal government turns its back on hardworking citizens, Santa Monica will continue to fight for our resident and student Dreamers.”
According to the city’s release, Santa Monica joins other cities “including Los Angeles and New York, [to urge] a nationwide injunction against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which would prevent DHS from ending the DACA program or using information obtained from DACA applicants for deportation proceedings.”
Since the election of President Donald Trump, Santa Monica has been proactive about protecting the rights of its immigrant residents.
At the end of 2016, former Santa Monica Police Chief Jacqueline Seabrooks issued a statement reaffirming the city’s longstanding policy of not enforcing federal immigration laws.
The city also hosted a series of workshops aimed at educating people of their rights in the face of more aggressive federal immigration enforcement.