SACRAMENTO – On the same day that the governor of California signed a bill into law mandating that boys who identify as girls be allowed to use girls’ bathrooms and vice versa, a California committee approved legislation which would cause any non-profit organizations that do not embrace homosexuals to lose tax-exempt status.
Senate Bill 323 (SB323) was first introduced in mid-February by Ricardo Lara, a Democratic state senator from Los Angeles. Lara is himself an open homosexual, as well as a member of the California Legislative LGBT Caucus. According to the bill’s introduction, SB323 would “provide that an organization that is a public charity youth organization that discriminates on the basis of gender identity, race, sexual orientation, nationality, religion, or religious affiliation is not exempt from [state taxes].”
Later in the legislation, approximately 25 youth organizations are specifically listed as entities that would have to embrace these “gender identity” and “sexual orientation” guidelines, or else lose their tax-exempt standing. Little League, Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts, Young Men’s Christian Association, Young Women’s Christian Association, Future Farmers of America, Future Homemakers of America, 4-H Clubs, Boys’ Clubs, and Girls’ Clubs are all included.
On Monday afternoon, California’s Committee on Revenue and Taxation held a hearing on SB323, and eventually approved the legislation by a 6-3 vote. Now the bill moves forward to the Committee on Judiciary.
Proponents of SB323—commonly referred to as the “Anti-Boy Scouts Bill”—herald the legislation as a long-overdue measure to end unfair discrimination in many organizations. John O’Conner of Equality California said the bill would “make it clear … that discrimination has a real cost,” and Senator Lara described his bill as a means to end organizations’ “outdated practices.”
“Our state values the important role that youth groups play in the empowerment of our next generation,” Lara stated. “This is demonstrated by rewarding organizations with tax exemptions supported financially by all Californians. SB323 seeks to end the unfortunate discriminatory and outdated practices by certain youth groups by revoking their tax exemption privilege should they not comply with our non-discrimination laws.”
However, a news release from Lori Arnold of the California Family Alliance argued that the “Anti-Boy Scouts Bill” is both self-contradicting and unconstitutional.
“The irony of the proposed law,” Arnold wrote, “is that its blatant use of extortion—by holding nonprofit groups financially hostage—instills its own form of discrimination by trampling individual and organizational religious beliefs by labeling them ‘outdated practices,’ practices that are protected by the First Amendment.”
Similarly, Matthew McReynolds of the Pacific Justice Institute (PJI) stated that “the bill’s imposition of ‘gender identity’ acceptance on virtually all youth sports in California is untenable and out of step with the reasonable privacy expectations,” and also “establishes a gender-blind scheme that most parents believe to be absurd.”
On the very same day as the SB323 committee hearing, California Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 1266 into law—a bill that allows boys who identify as girls to use girls’ bathrooms at school, and vice versa. As previously reported, California lawmakers overwhelmingly approved the “Bathroom Bill” last month, even though the bill’s author—Democratic Assemblyman Tom Ammiano—admitted that the new measures will “perhaps” make some children “uncomfortable.”
“I don’t want to minimize that,” Ammiano said, according to the BBC, “but new experiences are often uncomfortable. That can’t be an excuse for prejudice.”
However, Brad Dacus, president of the Pacific Justice Institute, told Christian News Network that the enforcement of AB 1266 will lead to instances of “extreme violation of [students’] privacy,” with “horrendous” mental and emotional ramifications.
Dacus further said that both SB323 and AB 1266 are being driven by those who want non-traditional sexual behavior accepted and protected in every arena.
“The common motive,” he explained, “is to inoculate anyone who has any objection to homosexuality or transsexuality, and [both bills are] specifically targeting young people. The goal is to make transsexuality, cross-dressing, and homosexuality a cultural norm—not just as a matter of tolerance, but as a matter of socially-mandated acceptance.”
“It’s a massive demoralizing campaign which is being engaged in at the expense of countless young people who will be unquestionably impacted,” he said.