OLR Bill Analysis
AN ACT CONCERNING THE DEPRIVATION OF RIGHTS ON ACCOUNT OF SEXUAL ORIENTATION.
This bill makes it a class A misdemeanor to subject someone to the deprivation of rights, privileges, and immunities secured or protected by the state or federal laws or constitutions because of his sexual orientation. This crime is punishable by imprisonment for up to one year, a fine of up to $ 2,000, or both.
It makes it a class D felony if (1) property is damaged as a consequence of a violation in an amount exceeding $ 1,000 or (2) the violator wears a mask, hood, or other device designed to conceal his identity. A class D felony is punishable by imprisonment for up to five years, a fine of up to $ 5,000, or both.
It also gives the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO) jurisdiction to investigate complaints of deprivations of rights, privileges, and immunities secured or protected by any state or federal law or constitution on the basis of sexual orientation. Thus, for example, it gives CHRO jurisdiction to investigate complaints of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation against students by public schools (See BACKGROUND).
EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2007
The law requires that public schools be open to all children five years of age and over and that each such child have an equal opportunity to participate in the activities, programs, and courses of study offered in such public schools without discrimination on account of sexual orientation (CGS §10-15c(a)).
The law defines “sexual orientation” as having a preference for heterosexuality, homosexuality or bisexuality, having a history of such a preference, or being identified with such preference (CGS § 46a-81a) But this statute does not refer to the laws this bill amends.
The state Supreme Court held that CHRO has jurisdiction to investigate claims of racial discrimination filed by students against a public school because CGS § 46a-58 prohibits racial discrimination, and CGS § 10-15c makes public schools open to all students without discrimination on the basis of race (Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities v. Board of Education, 270 Conn. 665 (2004)).
Joint Favorable Substitute