- Mich. judge to laughing convicted killer: ‘I hope you die in prison’
- Man charged in Kansas City-area highway shootings
- Keystone XL pipeline still on hold after State Dept. decision
- Fla. man charged with killing 16-month-old son to play Xbox undisturbed
- Drones from the deep: Pentagon develops ocean-floor attack robots
- Michigan mayor slaps back atheists’ try to erect ‘reason station’ at city hall
- PHILLIPS: Where is the conservative establishment?
- 7.5-magnitude earthquake shakes southern Mexico
- ISTOOK: IRS “wants to throw us in jail,” says tea party leader
- Easter woes: Chocolate costs soar, becoming ‘unaffordable’ luxury
California trying to strike out tax-exempt status for Little League, ‘discriminatory’ groups
A California bill that could strip tax-exempt status from Little League, the Boy Scouts of America and other “discriminatory” nonprofit youth-serving groups could come up for a final vote this week.
The first-of-its-kind bill, SB 323, passed the California Senate and sailed through Assembly committees to a floor vote, possibly this week.
But opponents are taking heart that there might not be enough votes in the state Assembly to pass the bill.
The chamber did not consider the bill in its Monday session, but may take it up when it convenes Friday.
The bill, introduced by State Sen. Ricardo Lara, names the Boy Scouts, Little League, Future Farmers of America and 19 other organizations as examples of groups that could be stripped of their tax-exempt status if found to discriminate based on gender identity, sexual orientation, nationality, race, religion or religious affiliation.
The measure also threatens tax-exempt status for public and private schools found to sponsor discriminatory youth groups. One critic said it could even threaten an exemption status held by a church.
“Traditional values regarding heterosexuality are being branded as the legal equivalent of racism, and so there’s the quite genuine fear that the tax code really is the battleground against the traditional churches,” said Alan Reinach, executive director of Church State Council, which opposes SB 323.
“It’s not about ‘live and let live.’ If the churches do not conform to the values of homosexuality, then we will lose our standing in society,” he said.
Proponents of Mr. Lara’s bill — called the Youth Equality Act — say groups that discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) or atheist youths should not receive preferential tax status.
LGBT youths need to be assured that they can have “equal access to participate in all youth organizations,” said Mr. Lara, who has spoken of his own experiences as a gay youth.
Supporters of the bill include Equality California, the American Civil Liberties Union, the California National Organization for Women, the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center, the city of West Hollywood and the Service Employees International Union of California.
Opponents include traditional-values groups, as well as three churches: Calvary Assembly of God, First Christian Church and Lighthouse Baptist Church.
They say SB 323 discriminates against organizations that have faith-based convictions and forces them to adopt the government’s viewpoint on sexual orientation and gender identity in their hiring, practices, membership, objectives or activities.
Many youth groups do not even hold their own tax-exempt status, but operate under the exemption of their church conference, said Mr. Reinach, whose public policy organization focuses on religious-freedom issues.
So if a youth group is found to be discriminatory, “what are you going to do — revoke the tax exemption for two dozen schools and 150 churches or at least all of their youth groups?” he asked.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Cheryl Wetzstein covers family and social issues as a national reporter for The Washington Times. She has been a reporter for three decades, working in New York City and Washington, D.C. Since joining The Washington Times in 1985, she has been a features writer, environmental and consumer affairs reporter, and assistant business editor.
Beginning in 1994, Mrs. Wetzstein worked exclusively ...
- Judge voids N. Dakota's 'heartbeat' abortion law
- Family, agency in custody battle over sick daughter
- Values group wins court round over use of gay marriage photo
- Gay-photo lawsuit partially dismissed
- Some gay activists fear same-sex supporters are becoming intolerant
Latest Blog Entries
- Gay therapy ban author seeks Calif. House seat
- Transgender 'bathroom law' gets 5,000 more signatures
- Pro-life, stem-cell bill signed into law by Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback
- N. Dakota lawmakers approve tough abortion bill
- Pope Benedict XVI's successor should allow priests to get a new title: Husband, poll finds
TWT Video Picks
Nevadans want to know whose hand at BLM is grabbing their land
- Harry Reid blasts Bundy ranch supporters as 'domestic terrorists'
- Immigration still on hold: Boehner's office
- Inside China: Marine's comment on islands draws sharp Chinese response
- Supreme Court weighs appeal to concealed-carry gun laws
- PRUDEN: When a bored president just 'mails it in'
- Nancy Pelosi washes immigrants' feet in humble Holy Week act then promotes on Twitter
- Atheists rush to stage Easter display: 'Jesus Christ is a myth'
- BRUCE: Obama deliberately emboldening America's enemies
- Army goes to war with National Guard, seizes Apache attack helicopters
- Critics rail against liberal bias for commencement speakers
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.