"In addition, there is a legitimate concern that these provisions single out religious schools and impose special obligations upon them," he said.
According to Baylor, the schools question whether the provisions are necessary given that the institutions are willing to discuss their religious commitments and expectations of students and staff.
In an Aug. 9 statement written in response to the previous version of the bill, a group of Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders defended the importance of the freedom of religious higher education.
"The future of a free America requires the full participation of religion in public life. Religious higher education cultivates both the mind and the soul," they said. They characterized the proposed restrictions as "stigmatizing and coercively punishing religious beliefs that disagree on contested matters related to human sexuality."
Before its amendment, they said the bill would have severely restricted "the ability of religious education institutions to set expectations of belief and conduct that align with the institution's religious tenets."
Leaders from two Catholic colleges in California, St. Thomas Aquinas College and St. John Paul the Great University, signed the statement, as did Michael Wear, a former Obama campaign staffer who served in the White House's Office of Faith-based Initiatives.
Other critics of the unamended bill included Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles and Pentecostal leader Bishop Charles E. Blake, presiding bishop of the Church in God of Christ and pastor of West Angeles Church of God in Christ.
In an Aug. 2 statement, they said the bill would violate the religious freedom of faith-based colleges and put at risk higher education opportunities for "the tens of thousands of Californians they serve, including many who are black, Latino, Asian and low-income."
They said faith-based institutions have historically served as a refuge for blacks, Asians and other minority families. Many of the schools affected by the proposed legislation are taking part in federal initiatives to expand Latino access to higher education.
"Many of these students are children of immigrants and the first in their families to attend college," the two bishops said. They asked legislators to protect religious freedom and the freedom of poor and minority students "to attend the college or university of their choice, regardless of their religious beliefs."
Some commentators warned that the bill's earlier provisions could endanger the financial sustainability of religious higher education in California.
(Story continues below)
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
At Catholic News Agency, our team is committed to reporting the truth with courage, integrity, and fidelity to our faith. We provide news about the Church and the world, as seen through the teachings of the Catholic Church. When you subscribe to the CNA UPDATE, we'll send you a daily email with links to the news you need and, occasionally, breaking news.
As part of this free service you may receive occasional offers from us at EWTN News and EWTN. We won't rent or sell your information, and you can unsubscribe at any time.
Kevin J. Jones is a senior staff writer with Catholic News Agency. He was a recipient of a 2014 Catholic Relief Services' Egan Journalism Fellowship.