California legislative leaders agree to compromise on oppressive LGBT anti-religion bill targeting Christian colleges, but fight isn't over.
Weeks of pressure on Legislature sent strong message
Bill is still dangerous - though Christian college leaders say they’re “pleased”
Pro-family activists continue battling to kill it - not pass it
August 11 2016
Legislative leaders in the California Legislature have agreed to modify Bill SB 1146, which has been called the most oppressive LGBT anti-religious bill in the country. The move was praised by leaders of major Christian colleges in California, who say they will now support it.
But state pro-family activists warn that the compromise still keeps in some terrible parts of it. They are perplexed that church leaders would agree to it. They vow to keep fighting to kill the bill completely.
A lot of pressure
The change came after weeks of intense pressure on legislators from church groups and pro-family organizations across the state. In addition, there was direct pressure at legislators’ local offices from California MassResistance. (In our next email we will show more examples of that pressure!)
The announcement came the day before the bill was to be voted on in the Appropriations Committee, the last stop before it goes to the full floor of the General Assembly. (It passed the Senate in July.) Before the compromise, there had been particular pressure on members of the Appropriations Committee, and there was danger that some Democrat members of the Committee would not support it.
Although the text of Bill SB 1146 has gone through several minor iterations, until now it has basically had three main provisions:
(1) If a religious college in California seeks exemptions from the federal or state LGBT non-discrimination statutes (which often directly collide with religious moral codes) the college must advertise this publicly and privately in numerous specified ways.
(2) The college must submit all correspondence and materials concerning their reasons for seeking these exemptions to the state, which will post them on state websites.
(3) It states that a religious institution can be sued by a dissatisfied student (or other person) unless it offers transgender restrooms and locker rooms, offers married housing for same-sex couples, and changes its “rules of moral conduct” and other religious practices to be LGBT-friendly.
This bill was written to completely subvert and ultimately destroy Christian college education in California. Ultimately, the national LGBT movement wants to push this bill across the country.
The reasons for sections (1) and (2) are to publicly “shame” the colleges and make them a target for retribution by radical LGBT groups, liberal governments and corporations, and possible lawsuits. The reason for section (3) is to further facilitate lawsuits against the school by specifying in law how a school must change to become LGBT-compliant.
According to reports, the compromise will completely remove section (3) but keep in place sections (1) and (2).
Why would the state’s religious leaders go for this?
This “compromise” is very troubling. Keeping sections (1) and (2) forces Christian colleges to make these ugly and obnoxious “disclosures” that will be posted by the State. This will surely put them in the cross-hairs of organized intimidation, harassment, and aggressive lawsuits.
- William Jessup University president John Jackson said his university “can support a bill that includes the disclosure requirements of SB 1146 as previously written”
- Kristen Soares, president of the Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities, said, “It’s a positive development. This gives us time to really work on the [LGBT] issue the senator is trying to address.”
- “Glad to see the horrific #SB1146 targeting of religious schools dropped. Thanks to those of you who stood with us,” Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission president Russell Moore tweeted after the change was announced.
- Even before the deal was made, the California Catholic Conference posted: "While we are supportive of Sections 1 and 2 of this measure, we are deeply concerned with Section 3 and respectfully ask that this provision be removed." [They added that they respected “the appropriate role of the state to protect against discrimination” reflected in the bill.]
No other institutions are forced to do these kinds of humiliating things. Why would the leaders of Christian institutions agree to it?
A Catholic activist in California who personally knows many of the top religious leaders in the state talked to us about it. He was very upset. He said that in his opinion, religious leaders across the board want to appear “nice,” even if it compromises principle. That pervasive attitude has poisoned our side, he said. (We agree. We’ve seen it across the country.)
As one Evangelical said, “This looks like we’re the ones who are compromising.”
The inside baseball behind this
The text of this new version of SB 1146 has not been released, even though the Appropriations Committee voted on it today – and passed it. But the details of the deal were explained to MassResistance by our contacts in the Capitol who work closely with the legislative process. We’re told that often a deal is made and the actual text is put together much later.
This bill posed a particular problem for Democrat legislators. The sponsor and most aggressive advocate, Sen. Lara, is an “out” homosexual who is also chairman of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee. Going against him, for a Democrat in either branch, is not easy.
We were also told by our contact in the Capitol that the likely political scenario playing out is that more and more Democrats are becoming uncomfortable with voting “yes” on this bill. In addition, it’s likely that Governor Jerry Brown, a former Jesuit seminarian, was being contacted by Church leaders and might possibly veto, saying it “goes too far.” Brown has recently vetoed bills that Catholic leaders strongly opposed.
Then there were the California MassResistance demonstrations at local offices. Most California legislators had never seen anything like that from conservatives.
Finally this week, the rumor goes, the leadership told Sen. Lara that they wouldn’t cause him and the LGBT lobby to lose face by killing the bill outright, but that he had to soften it considerably to make the heat go away. So he reluctantly agreed.
It’s not over
It should be noted that Sen. Lara has told the press that he will probably be back next year to pass section (3). As our State Capitol source says, the LGBT movement never quits. “They approach it like the Marxist dialectic,” he told us. “A compromise may be one step backwards. But later they’ll go for two steps forward. They never really quit.”
There is certainly still more to go with SB 1146. California MassResistance – and other statewide groups – believe that the entire bill must be killed and will continue to fight this.
We will keep you informed!