California Senate Bill 1146, called "the most oppressive LGBTQ anti-religious proposal in the nation," has yet to pass the state legislature, which is in its final eight days before adjournment.
SB 1146 was designed to force Christian colleges and universities in the state to hire homosexuals, house students who are openly homosexual, and allow self-designated transgender people to play on sports teams, use intimate facilities, and live in dorms with the opposite sex.
Critics say the bill, sponsored by state Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens), would ultimately remove Title IX exemptions for nearly all religious schools, forcing Christian colleges and universities to abandon moral codes for students and faculty and, as originally written, would create a legal path for lawsuits against religious schools if the institutions seek to uphold biblical decency.
The bill is so sweeping that The Federalist headlined its report, "California Bill Would Ultimately Erase Religious Schools." Only seminaries are exempt.
But California citizens rose up against the bill. The backlash from colleges, church groups, pro-family organizations, and the public was so great that last week Sen. Lara had to remove an entire section dealing with lawsuits from the bill.
Surprisingly, many other Christian universities were so relieved by the edit that they came out in support of the bill. As California's Mass Resistance put it, "In the opinion of many close observers, the Christian college leaders were willing to give in because they simply don’t have the stomach to take on the LGBT lobby and Democratic machine."
The proposed legislation requires schools to announce to potential and current students, faculty and staff whether or not they have a Title IX exemption, which critics say is a "public shaming" reminiscent of the bigotry of the Jim Crow South.
Critics of the bill say the reason it requires schools to post prominently and send notices to all students, perspective students, faculty and administrators about the school seeking Title IX exemption on religious and moral grounds is "to publicly 'shame' the colleges and make them a target for retribution by radical LGBT groups, liberal governments and corporations, and possible lawsuits."
The director of one of the leading organizations protesting the bill, California Mass Resistance, dubbed SB 1146, "the Kill Christian Colleges Bill." Arthur Schaper describes the proposed legislation as a "monstrous intrusion on our liberties."
After telling LifeSiteNews he was pleased that SB 1146 has been edited, Schaper nevertheless insisted, "It is still a bad bill, with an onerous reporting requirement, and it is still on the California Assembly floor waiting for a vote."
California MassResistance is "an activist group of pro-life and pro-family forces fed up with the attacks on life, family, gender, and liberty."
"The bill is designed to soften up the Christian colleges and community at large to allow for stricter restrictions during the next legislative session, i.e. the portions of the bill which Lara was forced to remove before the Appropriations Committee hearing on August 12th," Schaper explained.
Indeed, Sen. Lara, the bill’s sponsor, has openly said he intends to introduce everything cut out of the bill and more as his next legislative step for LGBTQ rights.
“We’re going to do our data collection and set the stage for a more aggressive bill,” Lara told the Pasadena Star News.
Brian Camenker, president of MassResistance nationally, told LifeSiteNews that Lara promises to be "'collecting data so he can 'set the stage for a more aggressive bill.'” “That is exactly what we’ve been warning about,” Camenker said. “They want to force Christian colleges to help the LGBT movement humiliate them, harass them, and ultimately destroy them."
Even in its now-edited form, the proposed legislation mandates that schools “disclose if they have an exemption, and report to the state when students are expelled for violating morality codes." Many critics of the bill say this will lead to government intrusion into religious education in California.
In Schaper's assessment, many college presidents compromised their principles just to stay out of a fight with gay activists. "The Christian colleges did a shameful thing by not doubling-down and demanding the full removal of this legislation, which never should have been introduced in the first place," he said.
Schaper praised at least one college that stood on biblical ground. "The good news, however, is that more Christian leaders are recognizing that they must not compromise, but confront this evil attack on our First Amendment rights," he said. "From what I have read, Biola University has not approved SB 1146, for example."
"We continue to hammer our state assembly members to vote NO on SB 1146," Schaper concluded. "We urge all Californians to continue calling their legislators to reject SB 1146!"
Meanwhile, the LGBTQ lobbying group Equality California is rallying its supporters by sending out an "Action Alert," which claims that opposition to the bill is well funded, when in fact Equality California is the recipient of huge donations from AT&T, Coca-Cola, Southwest Airlines, State Farm Insurance, and other major corporations.
A $1.2 million "Transform California" campaign is in full swing, led by Equality California and the Transgender Law Center in Oakland, seeking to influence the public on LGBTQ legislation.
Politics make strange bedfellows. Banding together against the bill is Los Angeles Catholic Archbishop José Gomez and Bishop Charles Blake of the Church of God in Christ, who came out with a joint statement saying SB 1146 "would violate the religious freedom of faith-based colleges and could jeopardize higher educational opportunities" for poor students.
Sen. Lara is an openly practicing homosexual and a member of the legislature's LGBT Caucus. He was born to parents who came from Mexico to the United States illegally.
The bill has until August 31 to pass the Assembly. If SB 1146 does pass, it must go back to the Senate and pass there again in its amended form.
Christian schools and other moral institutions of higher learning have always been able to apply for religious exemption to the portions of Title IX law that would force them to violate their faith. For instance, schools whose religion teaches it is not modest or healthy for women to compete in violent physical-contact sports are allowed to apply for Title IX exemption in that area.
Originally, Title IX law applied to women’s sports, but two years ago the Obama Administration officially redefined Title IX to include what he determined was “discrimination” against gay, lesbian, transgender, and “gender non-conforming” students.
As a direct result of the redefinition of Title IX law, Christian schools faced a new scenario, forcing them to offer married student housing to homosexuals and allow transgender males to stay in the female dormitories.
LGBTQ activists want Title IX religious exemptions eliminated completely, striking down all opposition to their agenda on conscience grounds.