Contact: Jeff Walton Office: 202-682-4131 Cell: 202-413-5639 E-Mail: jwalton@TheIRD.org
Washington, DC—Intense opposition from religious colleges in California has deterred legislation that would open up private religious institutions there to discrimination lawsuits from LGBTQ students. Critics of the legislation warn that new reporting requirements for religious institutions still in the bill could lay the groundwork for future laws that they insist will unfairly target schools adhering to religious beliefs.
State Senator Ricardo Lara announced today that he will drop the provision in his bill that would allow gay and transgender students to more easily sue private universities for discrimination if they are disciplined for violating church teachings.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Lara will press forward with the amended bill that would still require such schools to disclose if they have a religious exemption and report to the state when students are expelled for violating morality codes.
IRD Evangelical Action Director Chelsen Vicari commented:
“Christian educational institutions, faculty, and students may sigh with relief knowing — for now — that they need not compartmentalize their religious beliefs away from their teaching curriculum and moral standards.
“Sen. Lara’s amended bill shouldn’t give Christians a false sense of security. The bill’s goal is still to publically shame Christian sexual ethics. Under the lawmaker’s revisions, religious instituions must report when a student is dismissed for violating standards of personal conduct.
“The result of a bill like SB 1146 points to a broader trajectory among popular culture and, as a result, in public policy. Increasingly coercive political pressures expects religious institutions observing traditional sexual ethics to either abandon their faith or suffer consequences for their conscience.
“Potential threats to religious freedom from the California state legislature and beyond are sure to resurface. Once again, we pray these challenges are met with courageous Christians’ strengthened public witness for the preservation of religious liberty and the spread of the Gospel.”