The following comes from a May 25 story in the Weekly Standard.
Before Memorial Day, the California state legislature is expected to vote on two bills restricting religious liberty. One, AB 1888, would cut off public grants to all colleges and universities without policies specifically protecting gay, lesbian and transgender students from any form of discrimination. The other, SB 1146, would require that colleges and universities exempted from Title IX because of religious affiliation publicize their exempt status to current and prospective students, also making those schools vulnerable to legal action under Title IX.
The breadth of SB 1146’s potential legal implications is vague, but the intentions behind it are clear—and controversial. Supporters, according to Religious Liberty, claim they intend to protect “provide a legal remedy for students, for instance, who are admitted to a religious institution before revealing that they are LGBT and are later denied readmission or housing or face harassment.” But opponents to the bill fear its consequences. The California Catholic Conference testified in April about SB 1146— “‘while the state can protect against invidious discrimination, it must do so in a way that does not simultaneously abridge rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.’… CCC argues that this bill ‘raises serious concerns over potential violations of the Equal Protection Clause and provisions of the Due Process’ by creating a civil cause of action for discrimination on the grounds of gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation, ‘even where that conduct is compliant with federal law.'”
To deny a California school public funding, as AB 1888 would have it, means the end of Cal Grants, the largest source of state-funded financial aid, on which many institutions depend. Thomas Aquinas College’s non-discrimination policy, for instance, makes no specific mention of gender identity or sexual orientation—under AB 1888, they would no longer be able to offer students the option of state funding.
With religious liberty on the rocks in his home state of California, on May 19, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy helped narrowly defeat an amendment extending an executive order against LGBT discrimination. McCarthy got the credit—or, blame—for changing his colleagues’ minds at the last minute. When the defeat sank in, Democrats in Congress broke decorum and chanted “Shame!”
Just two days before, Speaker Ryan, who oversaw the flipping of seven votes to defeat the amendment, said at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast, “Religious liberty is going to make a comeback,” and “There is a growing need for faith in this nation.” A “growing need for faith” meets a mounting opposition to it, and California colleges are caught in the crossfire.