The news from Sacramento today is that the opposition to SB 1146 is finally gaining traction. The Los Angeles Times and Christianity Today are reporting that the bill's sponsor, State Senator Ricardo Lara, says he will remove the provision in the bill that sought to take away from religious schools their exemption from anti-discrimination laws. Instead, he will press forward with the amended bill that would require such schools to disclose if they have an exemption and report to the state when students are expelled for violating morality codes.
"The goal for me has always been to shed the light on the appalling and unacceptable discrimination against LGBT students at these private religious institutions throughout California,” said Lara, per the Times.
As we previously reported, SB 1146 would have narrowed the religious exemption to anti-discrimination laws--the exemption that allows religious schools to uphold Christian standards on sexuality--from religiously controlled schools to religion departments and seminaries. Not only would the measure have denied Cal-grant money to colleges that continue to uphold Christian standards, it would also have created a private right of action, i.e., the right of individuals to bring a civil lawsuit to force schools to abandon their standards. Its effect would have been to outlaw conservative Christian colleges in California.
There is no sympathy whatsoever in California's Democrat-dominated legislature for religious freedom per se. Today's Democratic Party simply cannot allow that religious believers should be free to embrace biblical teachings that condemn sodomy and gender confusion. Hence, the opposition to SB 1146 has had to become extremely creative in finding an effective way to oppose the measure. They have been reduced to arguing that private religious colleges are more successful at serving and graduating minority students than the public universities are, so by effectively outlawing private religious schools, SB 1146 "discriminates" against minority students. One must admire the creativity of the argument, but lament that such tortuous reasoning is made necessary by the Secular Left/Democratic Party's utter lack of sympathy for religious freedom for its own sake.