California State Sen. Ricardo Lara (D) said Senate Bill 1146 would shed light on discrimination of the LGBT community, it actually would restrict religious liberty of colleges.
Senator Lara has worked tirelessly to pass legislation that would dictate how religious universities operate in observance of their religion.
Sen. Ricardo Lara: “As a gay Catholic man, nobody has the right to dictate how I worship or observe my religion.”
Faced with intense opposition SB 1146 has been amended and now no longer contains a direct assault on the 1st Amendment.
SB1146 would have made it impossible for students to receive the Cal Grant if they chose to go to a religious school that held biblical views on human sexuality and marriage. Private/religious colleges and universities would be subject to SB 1146 whether they accepted state financial aid or not.
First, SB 1146 will require religious colleges and universities to adopt policies of non-discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in order for students to receive state-funded scholarships under the Cal Grant program. Secondly, SB 1146 will require these institutions to give notice if they have requested an exemption to Title IX. Thirdly, SB 1146 will permit lawsuits against institutions that are perceived to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation regardless of whether they accept the Cal-Grant scholarships. Peabody
SB 1146 Amended
Faced with intense opposition from religious colleges in California, a state Senator said Wednesday he has decided to amend a bill by dropping a provision that would have allowed gay and transgender students to more easily sue private universities for discrimination if they are disciplined for violating church teachings.
Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) is removing a provision of his bill that sought to take away the exemption of religious schools to anti-discrimination laws. Instead, he will press forward with the amended bill that would still require such schools to disclose if they have an exemption and report to the state when students are expelled for violating morality codes. LATimes
The withdrawal of the key provision of SB 1146 comes one day after a coalition of 145 Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders and college presidents penned an open letter to the legislature claiming the bill violates religious liberty and “creates its own form of discrimination by stigmatizing and coercively punishing religious beliefs that disagree on contested matters related to human sexuality.”
“While we do not all agree on religious matters, we all agree that the government has no place in discriminating against poor religious minorities or in pitting a religious education institution’s faith-based identity against its American identity. This legislation puts into principle that majoritarian beliefs are more deserving of legal protection, and that minority viewpoints are deserving of government harassment. Legislation of this nature threatens the integrity not only of religious institutions, but of any viewpoint wishing to exercise basic American freedoms, not least of which is the freedom of conscience,” the letter also said.
The letter was also signed by multiple distinguished professors of law, including Robert P. George, who only recently completed a term as chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.
Leith Anderson, chair of the National Association of Evangelicals, who signed the letter, said via social media that he and others were breathing “sighs of relief and prayers of gratitude that California #SB1146 (restricting religious liberty of colleges) has been dropped.”
Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, also signed the letter. He tweeted that SB 1146 showed “the stakes of a state that imperils the free exercise of religious and the freedom of dissent.”
He added, “The #SB1146 controversy also shows how important it is for religious freedom advocates to stand together, across our divides.” ChristianExaminer