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Tipsheet

California's Christian Colleges Threatened by LGBT Discrimination Law

California Senate Bill 1146 threatens to upend Christian colleges across the state. Under current guidelines, religious schools are exempted from an anti-discrimination law that requires them to offer a “safe space” for LGBT students. Yet, Bill 1146, which is working through the state legislature, would remove that exemption and allow students to sue schools they believe are not inclusionary.

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In a letter penned in June by Dr. Kurt Krueger, president of Concordia University Irvine, he explained what the legislation means for religious institutions.

“The bill effectively eliminates the religious exemption under current law that allows Christian colleges and universities to operate in accordance with their beliefs, including the freedom to hire only Christian faculty and staff. If passed without amendments, the new law would also very likely disqualify students attending California Christian colleges and universities from eligibility for Cal Grants, a key state-level student aid program.”

Proponents of the bill, however, argue that students who attend religious colleges or universities should have the same rights and protections as students who attend other schools.

"Opponents of LGBT equality have been using the pretext of exercise of religion to justify discrimination," said Rick Zbur, executive director of the advocacy group Equality California.

As The Federalist notes in its detailed feature on the bill: “No one forces people to attend religious schools.”

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