All right-thinking Californians should back a proposed bill that counters discrimination in higher education.
Currently, California universities run by religious organizations are free to discriminate against students and staff based on their gender and sexual orientation, so long as the religious university claims that it would violate its religious tenets not to discriminate. Under a proposed bill currently working its way through the California Legislature, universities claiming a religious exemption to nondiscrimination laws would be required to disclose their reasons for claiming the exemption to all current and prospective students, faculty members, and employees.
The purpose of California's SB 1146 is to shine a light on those universities that use religious belief as a rationale to discriminate. The bill doesn't prevent religious schools from discriminating against women, LGBT people or any other group if they wish, but it does make those decisions publicly available. All religious exemptions would be reported to the California Student Aid Commission, which would make them accessible to everyone on its website.
If religious universities want the right to discriminate against students and faculty based on their gender identity or sexual orientation, then let them have the courage of their convictions. Those universities should be willing to defend their decisions publicly. Students should have the right to know what their prospective universities stand for.
SB 1146 now sits in the Assembly Higher Education Committee. Contact your state representative today to voice your support for this bill! Personalize your statement if possible, or feel free to cut and paste the wording below.
I am writing as your constituent and a concerned Californian in support of SB 1146, a bill designed to create transparency when religious universities choose to discriminate against women, LGBTQ people or other minority groups. It is important for students, parents, and potential university employees to know what their institutions stand for. If a university chooses to discriminate in the name of religion, that information should be made publicly available. SB 1146 achieves this result without interfering with the free exercise of religion.