|Sen. Ricardo Lara|
Oh, certain terms are clear. The preamble to the bill states:
"This bill would also 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 the taxes imposed by that law [allowing for sales tax exemption]."
The bill defines the organizations clearly enough.
(1) Any nonprofit organization which meets all of the following conditions:
(A) The organization qualifies for tax-exempt status under Section 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code.
(B) The organization's primary purpose is to provide a supervised program of competitive sports for youth, or to promote good citizenship in youth.
(C) The organization does not discriminate on the basis of gender identity, race, sex, sexual orientation,
nationality, or religion, or religious affiliation.
So far, so good.
(2) (A) Any youth group sponsored by or affiliated with a qualified educational institution, including, but not limited to, any student activity club, athletic group, or musical group.
(B) For purposes of this section, "qualified educational institution" means any of the following:
(i) Any public elementary, secondary, or vocational-technical school providing education for kindergarten, grades 1 to 12, inclusive, and college undergraduate programs, or any part thereof, operated by state or local government.
(ii) Any nonprofit private educational institution providing education for kindergarten, grades 1 to 12, inclusive, and college undergraduate programs, or any part thereof, that meets the requirements of the State Department of Education for a school.
"Private educational institution" means any entity providing education which satisfies the requirements of state and local laws pertaining to private educational institutions in effect on January 1, 1990, and which does not discriminate on the basis of gender identity, race, sex, sexual orientation, nationality, or religion, or religious affiliation.
Wait - that means Catholic schools.
(3) (A) Little League, Bobby Sox, Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts, Campfire, Inc., Young Men's
Christian Association, Young Women's Christian Association, Future Farmers of America, Future Homemakers of America, 4-H Clubs, Distributive Education Clubs of America, Future Business Leaders of
America, Vocational Industrial Clubs of America, Collegiate Young Farmers, Boys' Clubs, Girls' Clubs, Special Olympics, Inc., American Youth Soccer Organization, California Youth Soccer Association, North, California Youth Soccer Association, South, and Pop Warner football.
That is a pretty comprehensive list, even to the point of specifically naming organizations.
But here is the missing term that I sought and could not find - what is meant by "discrimination?" How does one "discriminate" in this sense?
In the case of the Boy Scouts, which presently bars membership as a Scout or a troop leader to homosexuals, the conduct that would qualify as discrimination is clear: membership. Fair enough. But one of the ideas floated recently by the Scouts was that they would have the individual troops make the decision as to whether gays could join. This would allow those organizations that sponsor scout troops - which are usually places of worship - to preserve their religious teachings. One should understand that it is not that a gay Scout will bring about the fall of Our Lady of Grace's troop . . . the issue becomes when a Scout leader wants to bring his husband to the potluck.
So, is it discrimination to ask that a gay couple not engage in public displays of affection? Is it discrimination to ask that a parent not show up for a ball game in drag? Is it discrimination to say no to a gay bar who wishes to sponsor a Pop Warner football team with their name on the uniforms? If a gay - well, I was going to say parent, but really, this law gives voice to anyone since it does not specify who has standing to bring suit under it - demands that St. Joseph School teach that a homosexual union is acceptable in its classrooms, and they don't, is this discrimina . . .
Wait a second, this bill does not apply to that situation, does it? Well, look at the terms - a Catholic school arguably meets the requirements in section (1), in that its primary purpose can be said to "promote good citizenship in youth." That is a broad term, is it not?
The codification of laws in California is problematic. I have seen laws that are so specific to a set of circumstances that loopholes are immediately present. But while laws should be tailored to general circumstances since no one can predict the specifics under which they should be applied, I also suggest that when a legislator has an agenda behind his or her proposed law, the terms can be written so as to allow enforcement aimed at specific targets Like the Boy Scouts. Like religious organizations.
Because as I have said in the past, this is not about tolerance and it is not about acceptance . . . it is about elimination of all that run counter to the agenda. And since outright banning of a Scout troop at First Baptist Church or St. Joseph School is, as yet, still unconstitutional, the alternative is to start making it harder for them to exist.