If California Democrats have their way, Christian colleges and universities will no longer be allowed to require students attend chapel services or require them to profess a relationship with Jesus Christ.
Senate Bill 1146 would close a loophole that lawmakers say allows Christian universities to discriminate against students based on their gender identity, gender expression or sexual orientation.
“All students deserve to feel safe in institutions of higher education, regardless of whether they are public or private,” said Senator Ricardo Lara, the author of the legislation. “California has established strong protections for the LGBTQ community and private universities should not be able to use faith as an excuse to discriminate and avoid complying with state laws.”
The legislation has already passed the California Senate and is expected to clear hurdles in the Assembly. Thus far, Lara has refused to compromise with the state’s Christian colleges and universities.
“No university should have a license to discriminate,” he said in a statement.
If the loophole is closed, it would only exempt schools that prepare students for pastoral ministry.
“It discriminates against religious colleges, said John Jackson, the president of William Jessup University. “If we don’t play ball with state — the state will attempt to drive us out of existence.”