Bill would prevent LGBT discrimination at religious schools

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – The conflict between religious freedom and gay rights has a new battleground – California’s religious colleges and universities.

A bill moving through the Legislature would remove a longstanding exemption from anti-discrimination laws for religious institutions, potentially exposing the schools to civil rights lawsuits from students and employees.

Currently, religious institutions can assign housing based on sex, not gender identity, and can discipline students for violating moral codes of conduct.

Supporters of SB1146 say they want to create a safe space for LGBT students. The state Assembly’s Judiciary Committee approved the bill in late June after a gay former student at Christian college testified that he had no legal recourse after being expelled.

The bill faces another upcoming test in the Assembly after passing the Senate.