California Senator Amends SB 1146, Dropping Proposals That Angered Religious Institutions

California State Senator Ricardo Lara from Los Angeles has yet again amended his bill SB 1146, a piece of legislation that had religious liberty activists up in arms. The revisions come after the senator received strong opposition from a few religious colleges and universities in the state of California.

Lara wrote the bill to protect LGBT students from discrimination at religious schools. As originally drafted, the legislation would have ended exemptions in religious schools to anti-discrimination laws. The LA Times reported the senator is “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.”

Instead, the bill now states that religious colleges and universities in California must only disclose whether or not they have an exemption to anti-discrimination laws and “report to the state when students are expelled for violating morality codes.”

By taking this significant shift in direction, the senator hopes to gather information on how common discriminatory cases are. “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,” he told LA Times.

While there has been some opposition to the original bill from Adventist congregations and religious activists within the church, the Adventist colleges and universities in California have not weighed in on the bill.

The most vocal religious institutions in opposition to the original bill include Azusa Pacific University, Point Loma Nazarene University and William-Jessup University. These universities, among a handful of others, joined together to create the Association of Faith-Based Institutions. After Lara’s announced amendment, the universities stated to the senator, "Pending review of this new language, we are pleased to change our position on this legislation from "oppose unless amended" to `support.'"

Senator Lara says that he will pursue other legislation next year, possibly revisiting the provision dropped from the bill Wednesday. The bill, as it is newly written, will be heard in Appropriations Committee on Thursday, August 11. For the bill text, status on the bill and further information regarding the bill, click here.

Hallie Anderson is a student intern for Spectrum and a senior communications student studying journalism and public relations at Walla Walla University.

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The natural results of uniting church and state. If SDA schools receive federal aid but don’t wish to abide by federal guidelines…all I can do is shake my head.

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In my opinion this bill went too far and I am glad to see that its sponsor has scaled it back. I believe this bill would have created a lawyers bonanza for litigation that would seek to marginalize and eventually destroy religious colleges that do not accept homosexual behavior. We gays have made a lot of headway in trying to get churches to better understand and have some compassion for us. It has been a slow uphill work in progress. I believe this bill would have led to such an orchestrated backlash in the christian community that in the long run lgbt’s would suffer worse for it.


Do Adventist schools now differentiate between heterosexual behavior of non-married students? Are the rules on sexual behavior the same for both? Are they expelled or told to change their behavior for continuing in school?

If such students have received government scholarship funding does that make a difference?

I have spoken to those in the know about this issue. The schools have adopted “Purity Codes”. These spell out what is required, and the requirements are the same for heteros and homos. That is, no sex outside of marriage. And schools are allowed, as far as I know, to not accept gay marriage.

Govt funding makes no difference. It is the rule of the school that is what counts.

I might add, the Christianity Today web site has an extended article about the bill.

Unless someone practices sexual behavior in public, this is one rule that will be difficult to prosecute.

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