Sacramento, Calif., Aug 16, 2016 / 15:49 pm
A bill that threatened to defund California religious colleges that do not accept same-sex marriage and gender ideology has been amended, but the danger could return.
“The schools dodged an enormous bullet,” Gregory S. Baylor, senior counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom, told CNA Aug. 16. “The provisions that were dropped would have made it very difficult for them. They would have been forced to choose between remaining faithful to their religious beliefs about a variety of issues and participating in the CalGrant program.”
Baylor’s religious freedom legal group helped defend some of the California schools targeted by California legislature bill S.B. 1146.
A previous version of the bill would have imposed strict anti-discrimination rules on state-backed student grants, called CalGrants, to schools that disagree with same-sex marriage and gender ideology. Schools would have had to decline to accept students with the grants, change their morality- and religion-based policies, or face the risk of lawsuits.
Critics of the original bill said that it would stigmatize and punish religious colleges and universities and deny their disadvantaged students’ needed funds for their education.
“The most dangerous provision of S.B. 1146 were dropped,” Baylor said. “Certainly the schools we have been working with are happy about that,” he said.
But he also had a warning.
“I think it would be a mistake for anyone who supports religious freedom to be lulled into a false sense of security about what’s coming in California,” he added. “The prior version of the bill passed the senate, and passed three committees in the assembly, and appeared to be destined for passage in the full assembly and signature by the governor. That is a frightening prospect.”