The California Assembly will likely vote on a  controversial bill designed to pressure religious colleges and universities to abandon faith-based sexual behavior policies by the end of the month. California Senate Bill 1146, would require religious universities and colleges to stop discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status, was one of 200 bills heard before the Assembly Appropriations Committee on Wednesday.

In keeping with the rules of the Assembly Appropriations Committee, all bills that cost more than $150,000 are moved to the suspense file for further consideration. Lawmakers have until August 31 to pass their bills before the final resource or wait until next January.

SB 1146 would require any entity that receives state funding or enrolls students who receive state financial assistance, for example, Cal Grants, to abide by all the nondiscrimination requirements of state law, even if this would violate the religious tenets of the entity. SB 1146 would affect the policies that religious colleges and universities have including student admissions, housing accommodations, behavioral standards, housing accommodations, and employment practices.

The only exemptions are for programs designed to prepare students specifically to become members of the clergy or work in ministry in a professional capacity.

An earlier version of the bill that prohibited religious institutions from imposing mandatory chapel attendance policies or required religion courses passed the California state Senate but was widely opposed. The current version allows religious institutions to "enforce religious practices" so long as they are applied in the same way to all students.

There is a common misperception about what the "suspense file" means. Many people think this is another way of saying that the bill will be "tabled" or not heard at all. The suspense file is a holding place for bills with "significant" (more than $150,000) fiscal impacts, and most bills are held in "suspense" while both the Senate and Assembly evaluate the total impact on the state. Bills that are moved out of suspense go directly to the floor of their respective houses while bills that remain in suspense die.

SB 1146 has already passed the California Senate and every committee to this point in the California Assembly. While large enough to reach the "significant" fiscal impact level, the bill is not particularly expensive to implement and will likely be moved out of the suspense file, meaning that a floor vote is highly likely before the end of the month.  If it passes the Assembly, it will soon end up on the governor's desk.

To read the current version of the bill and check the status visit: https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billStatusClient.xhtml?bill_id=201520160SB1146

 

 

 
 

2 Comments

  1. A pro-discriminatory screed against SB 1146 by the Church State Council has lately been distributed in church bulletins. This tract decries “a blatant attack on the right of religious colleges and universities to BE religious … by eliminating the right [!] of such institutions to discriminate” on the basis of gender identity or orientation. The logic here, if any there be, escapes me.

    As far as I know, BEING religious means adopting and following the Golden Rule, that precept which (if Jesus is to be trusted) sums up the law and the prophets. Far from demanding that adherents discriminate against others, the Golden Rule is antithetical to discrimination.

    As I read it, the Church State Council explicitly claims that one MUST discriminate against others in order to BE religious, making one tantamount to the other. This constitutes a profoundly offensive defamation of religion itself … and it has been offered up to the church community with no rebuttal whatsoever.

    It is terribly ironic that Adventists – who fiercely fight discrimination on account of their Sabbath-keeping or for any other reason – want to insist that being free to discriminate against others is somehow _fundamental_ to the very operation of a religion. This incongruity deserves some careful consideration.

    I am unaware of any governmental agency in the US interfering with the ability of religious institutions to preach and teach whatsoever they will, so this – fortunately – is not at issue. I thank God that I live in a country in which I am free to choose a religion for myself and to comport myself accordingly. But (it should go without saying), choosing a religion for myself is not to obtain a license to discriminate; neither should universities be granted a license to discriminate. It is high time to eliminate Title IX exemptions and exemptions carved out in the “Equity in Higher Education Act” of the California Education Code (§§ 66250 – 66292.4).

    If institutions fear court challenges, the remedy is simple: don’t discriminate; follow the law like everyone else.

    I hope that the Church State Council’s gross misrepresentation of the nature of religion – and its utter disregard of the Golden Rule – will soon be addressed and put right from pulpits where this tract has been distributed.

  2. Kerubo Obaba says:

    I truly love my church, the Seventh Day Adventist church. I honestly believe that God has inordinately blessed us with heavenly messages than any other church on earth. Now, what we do with those messages is the question. Like Israel of old this is of no value if it does not draw us closer to God.
    I believe that a prayer request of this nature, is the kind God does not entertain.I do hope we say at the end that let your will be done and mean it and let it be! Even if the bill is defeated, it may not be of God but the tyranny of the majority!
    I do join Jon Mark Oliver in saying, Please do not discriminate against anyone however heinous their sin may be! It is ungodly. Jesus touched the leper who he was NOT supposed to touch! Any lesson learnt?

 
 
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