CA Senator Amends Controversial Bill Restricting Religious Freedom of Christian Colleges

Amanda Casanova | Contributor | Thursday, August 11, 2016

CA Senator Amends Controversial Bill Restricting Religious Freedom of Christian Colleges

A California state senator said this week that he will drop a provision from a bill that would have allowed gay and transgender students to more easily sue private colleges for discrimination if they are punished for violating the college’s rules.

Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) is amending his bill after facing intense criticism from religious universities in California, according to the Los Angeles Times.

“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,” Lara said.

“I don’t want to just rush a bill that’s going to have unintended consequences so I want to take a break to really study this issue further,” the senator said.

Originally, the bill would have allowed students to sue if they alleged discriminatory treatment from religious colleges for being in same-sex relationships.

About six colleges formed a committee called the Association of Faith Based Institutions after Lara’s original bill was announced.

In addition, the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission petitioned against the bill.

The Association of Faith Based Institutions flooded the districts of the Assembly Appropriations Committee with mailers that claimed the bill violates religious freedoms.

“Stop state control of private education,” the mailer said.

The Assembly Appropriations Committee will vote on the bill on Thursday.

Said Association President Kristen F. Soares after the amended bill: “It’s a positive development. This gives us time to really work on the issue the senator is trying to address.”


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Publication date: August 11, 2016