West Hollywood’s Bizarre Plan to ‘Pay If You’re Gay’
March 22, 2022
by Jim Breslo
Los Angeles County voters in 2017 resoundingly approved Measure H, a landmark quarter percent increase to the county’s sales tax to address homelessness. It has not worked. Homelessness has become dramatically worse. When one hears what the City of West Hollywood is doing with their share of the funds, it is easy to see why.
The city is in the process of selecting, by lottery, 25 residents to receive $1,000 per month. It’s called the West Hollywood Pilot for Guaranteed Income. But you do not need to be homeless to enter the lottery. You do not even have to be a citizen. What you must be is lesbian, or gay, or bisexual, or transgender, or “queer,” or “intersex,” or “asexual,” aka “LGBTQIA.” Straight people, regardless of whether you are homeless or how destitute you may be, need not apply.
According to the city, the purpose of the program is to “determine the effectiveness of guaranteed income on participants’ economic security, housing stability, physical health, and mental health,” and to “contribute data to the Center for Guaranteed Income Research (CGIR) and the Mayors for a Guaranteed Income (MGI) to help determine the collective impact of guaranteed income on LGBTQIA populations.”
The MGI is a network of mayors “interested in determining how cash—with no strings attached—can assist households in need.”
Incredibly, in the face of the worst homeless crisis in recent memory, the city is using funds allocated to address it to conduct instead a social experiment which treats LGBTQIA individuals as lab rats.
The only other requirements to qualify for the lottery are that you are at least 50 years of age and earn less than $41,400 as an individual, or up to $63,850 for a household of five. It is yet another government program that incentives people to work less or not at all.
It sits on top of the myriad of other state and federal benefit programs already in place, such as CalWORKs (aid program for adults with children), Cal Fresh (food stamps), WIC (women, infants, and children) benefits, MediCal, and the federal earned income tax credit and Medicare. Unlike other California programs, there are no restrictions on how the money can be spent. Recipients are free to use other people’s money to support an alcohol, cigarette, or drug habit.
Los Angeles recently implemented its own basic income program, designed to “transform the role of local government.” The source of its funds is just as troubling. The city defunded its police and used the money for its social experiment. It also held a lottery with 3,000 lucky winners of $1,000 per month.
The constitutionality of both programs is highly questionable. The programs confiscate people’s money through mandatory taxes and redistribute it on a random basis to others based not on need but upon a lottery. The West Hollywood program, however, is truly unique in its additional blatant discrimination.
The California Supreme Court previously held that the state constitution’s equal protection clause requires that “statutes according differential treatment on the basis of sexual orientation are subject to the strict scrutiny standard of review.” This requires a compelling government interest. What possible compelling interest could the government have in caring more for residents based upon their sexual orientation or gender identity than their financial need?
The program provides no individual analysis of the circumstances of any particular applicant. One could quite literally be a retired lawyer with millions in the bank and qualify for the lottery so long as the LGBTQIA box is checked.
The program quite simply provides awards based on sexual preferences and gender identity over basic human needs. It is the latest example of California politicians ignoring their basic duty to address real issues of their citizens, like crime and homelessness, to pursue instead progressive dreams of their bizarre, imagined utopia.
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