Institute on Religion & Democracy Press Release
June 28, 2016
Contact: Jeff Walton Office: 202-682-4131 Cell: 202-413-5639 E-mail: jwalton@TheIRD.org
Washington, DC—Christian educational institutions in California will be open to anti-discrimination lawsuits from homosexual and transgender students if a new bill is signed into law.
Senate Bill 1146 is intended to restrict Christian colleges and schools from discriminating on the grounds of sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression. Schools could face a loss of accreditation status with the state of California resulting in their students’ inability to qualify for state and federal grants and loans.
SB 1146 would narrow the number of California colleges and universities that are able to claim exemptions from federal Title IX anti-discrimination law, applying the exemption only to seminaries and schools of divinity. At least 43 schools have received a Title IX exemption nationally, six of which are in California.
Christian groups including the California-based National Center for Law & Policy, the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, the California Family Council and the California Family Alliance have lined up against bill, as have Christian Colleges including Biola University.
IRD Evangelical Action Director Chelsen Vicari commented:
“Christian educational institutions should have the freedom to be distinctly Christian by asking students to live in a way consistent with their values. Faith-based institutions in California should not have to compartmentalize their religious beliefs away from the teaching curriculum in the name of political correctness.
“Asking that all students and faculty submit to behavioral standards is not discriminatory on the part of Christian colleges that broadly cater to students of faith. Even so, advocates of SB 1146 have arbitrarily determined Christian institutions like Biola are not religious enough for an exemption.
“One year after the Supreme Court’s decision to redefine marriage, threats to traditional Christian teachings are growing. We can expect more assaults to surface, but pray these challenges encourage Christians’ strengthened public witness for the preservation of religious liberty and spread of the Gospel.”