CA Bill Will Require Disclosure of Title IX Exemptions by Religious Colleges

Religious colleges can request an exemption from Title IX which forbids sex discrimination in colleges accepting federal funds or students who pay tuition with federal grants. Exemptions often relate to policies concerning sexual orientation or gender identity. A recent legislative effort in California (SB 1146) would have required exempt religious colleges which accept students with CA student aid to conform to most conditions of the state’s anti-discrimination statute. The bill also gave students who believe they have been discriminated against a right to sue a college on that basis. In response, religious colleges and other groups (e.g., the Southern Baptist’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission) opposed the bill because their representatives believed they would have to alter critical elements of their program in violation of their religious views.
Last week, the author of the bill, Rep. Lara (D-Bell Gardens) promised to remove the language allowing lawsuits and requiring conformity to CA’s anti-discrimination statute. Now the bill requires little more than disclosure of the exemption and any actions taken against students allowed by the exemption.  Late yesterday, the new language was posted on Assembly’s website:

SECTION 1. Section 66290.1 is added to the Education Code, to read:
66290.1. (a) Each postsecondary educational institution in this state that claims an exemption pursuant to Section 901(a)(3) of the federal Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (20 U.S.C. Sec. 1681(a)(3)) or Section 66271 shall disclose to current and prospective students, faculty members, and employees the basis for claiming the exemption and the scope of the allowable activities provided by the exemption.
(b) The disclosure required in subdivision (a) shall be made in all of the following ways:
(1) The disclosure shall be displayed in a prominent location of the campus or school site. “Prominent location” means that location, or those locations, in the main administrative building or other area where notices regarding the institution’s rules, regulations, procedures, and standards of conduct are posted.
(2) The disclosure shall be included in written materials sent to prospective students seeking admission to the institution.
(3) The disclosure shall be provided as part of orientation programs conducted for new students at the beginning of each quarter, semester, or summer session, as applicable.
(4) The disclosure shall be provided to each faculty member, member of the administrative staff, and member of the support staff at the beginning of the first quarter or semester of each school year. The disclosure shall be provided to each new employee upon his or her hire.
(5) The disclosure shall be included in any publication of the institution that sets forth the comprehensive rules, regulations, procedures, and standards of conduct for the institution.
SEC. 2. Section 66290.2 is added to the Education Code, to read:
66290.2. (a) Each postsecondary educational institution in this state that claims an exemption pursuant to Section 901(a)(3) of the federal Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (20 U.S.C. Sec. 1681(a)(3)) or Section 66271 shall submit to the Student Aid Commission copies of all materials submitted to, and received from, a state or federal agency concerning the granting of the exemption.
(b) The Student Aid Commission shall collect the information received pursuant to subdivision (a) and post and maintain a list on the commission’s Internet Web site of the institutions that have claimed the exemption with their respective bases for claiming the exemption.
SEC. 3. Section 66290.3 is added to the Education Code, to read:
66290.3. Each postsecondary educational institution in this state that claims an exemption pursuant to Section 901(a)(3) of the federal Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (20 U.S.C. Sec. 1681(a)(3)) or Section 66271 shall submit a quarterly report to the Student Aid Commission that includes both of the following:
(a) A detailed explanation of the reason for each student suspension or expulsion that occurred during the preceding quarter, including on explanation of the policy the student violated and whether that policy is authorized under the exemption.
(b) Whether the student was a Cal Grant recipient.
SEC. 4. The provisions of this act are severable. If any provision of this act or its application is held invalid, that invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications that can be given effect without the invalid provision or application.

I post this in order to promote awareness that the perceived threat to religious liberty has been addressed for now. I think everyone should be aware of these exemptions. Some students have gone to religious schools unaware that they could be expelled for coming out as gay. Students should know in advance what they are getting into. The last section will keep track of how many students are expelled.

MercatorNet Posts Op-Ed Critical of Reparative Therapy

Remarkably, Mercator Net posted an article critical of reparative therapy earlier this month. The piece by Melinda Selmys has generated many comments at MercatorNet and for good reason. The article is well written and provides Selmys opinion on the California law banning reparative therapy for minors.

Selmys writes:

That said, it is not impossible for a homosexual to have a happy marriage with an opposite-sex spouse. My own experience speaks to that: I am same-sex attracted, but have chosen heterosexual marriage for a combination of religious and personal reasons. I would not say, however, that I have achieved orientation change. I am not attracted to men, I am in love with a man. This is typical of the real experience of “ex-gays”: usually what changes is not the underlying pattern of attraction but rather the sort of relationship that a person chooses to pursue.

Well said.

She appears to favor the California law which bans reparative therapy for minors, saying

Adults who have chosen to undergo therapy are in a position to change therapists or to abandon treatment if they find that the therapy does more harm than good. Minors who are forced into therapy by adult authority figures do not have this option. Even if young people are theoretically seeking treatment under their own power, many feel intense pressure to overcome homosexual desires in order to please their parents, and some fear punishment or recrimination if they fail. Unscrupulous therapists often market their services primarily to parents and guardians, preying on the hopes and fears of those who have the ability to place adolescents in treatment.

Moreover, conscientious therapists openly state that conversion therapy does not have any real chance of working unless it is freely chosen by the client. Teenage dependents are not in a position to make a free choice of this kind.

I have seen a fair number of SSA teens over the years and generally I find that their concern is parental rejection and/or abandonment. They are not really in a position to question parental wishes. On the other hand, I have met some who did not want to engage in sexual behavior and expressed gratitude for support to avoid that.

Currently, the Pacific Justice Institute is soliciting reparative therapists for minor clients to join the lawsuit against the state of California. It seems inevitable that such requests will put even more pressure on a minor who may already be going along with parental wishes in order to keep peace.

While it is obvious that NARTH is under fire, an article like this on the MercatorNet website has to be considered a real setback.

Check out Melinda Selmys blog.

CA Senate committee passes bill to ban sexual orientation change efforts for minors

According to the Washington Post, a CA Senate committee voted to refer CA Senate Bill 1172 to the full Senate for a vote. SB 1172 would require practitioners of sexual orientation change efforts to get written informed consent from adult clients and prohibit such interventions for those under 18.

The bill defines SOCE as:

“Sexual orientation change efforts” means psychotherapy aimed at altering the sexual or romantic desires, attractions, or conduct of a person toward people of the same sex so that the desire, attraction, or conduct is eliminated or reduced or might instead be directed toward people of a different sex. It does not include psychotherapy aimed at altering sexual desires, attractions, or conduct toward minors or relatives or regarding sexual activity with another person without that person’s consent.

Continue reading “CA Senate committee passes bill to ban sexual orientation change efforts for minors”

California teen bullycide victim dies

Yesterday, KGET reported the death of Seth Walsh, a 13 year old boy, out as gay, who was bullied constantly. In this report, confirmation of the situation comes from his tormentors.

Tehachapi police investigators interviewed some of the young people who taunted Seth the day he hanged himself and determined despite the tragic outcome of their ridicule, their actions do not constitute a crime.

“Several of the kids that we talked to broke down into tears,” Jeff Kermode, Tehachapi Police Chief, said. “They had never expected an outcome such as this.”

He said the students told investigators they wish they had put a stop to the bullying and not participated in it.

Friends said Seth was picked on for years because he was gay. 

School administrators said they have an anti-bullying program in place, but schoolmates said staff at Jacobsen Middle School in Tehachapi offered Seth no protection or guidance.

Broken record, broken system, broken kids. Once again, I call on those who cast suspicion on anti-bullying programs to just stop the culture war long enough to address the real needs of real children.

Be sure to watch the follow up video…it follows immediately after the news report on Seth Walsh.

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Today's forecast: 100% chance that today's top stories will involve a Supreme Court

Obama announces his SCOTUS pick at 10:15am (est) .
California Supreme Court announces ruling on Prop 8 appeal at 1:00pm (est).
CNN and USA Today is reporting that Obama will nominate Sonia Sotomayor. If true and if confirmed, she will be the first Hispanic justice. She was nominated to the federal bench by George Bush I. Her wikipedia entry already has the news.
Got any other news you want to drop today? I wouldn’t advise it. I think these two stories may push North Korea to #3.
UPDATE: 5/26/09 – Prop 8 is upheld and but 18,000 current same-sex marriages will continue to be recognized. The ruling in .pdf is here.

Home schooling legal (again) in CA

In March, a California court issued a ruling casting doubt on the ability of California parents to home school without having a teaching certificate. Today the court reversed itself with good news for home school advocates and said the issue was a matter for the legislature to address.
CA Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said,

“This is a victory for California’s students, parents and education community. This decision confirms the right every California child has to a quality education and the right parents have to decide what is best for their children,” he said. “I hope the ruling settles this matter for parents and home-schooled children once and for all in California, but assure them that we, as elected officials, will continue to defend parents’ rights.”

California Supreme Court recognizes same-sex marriage right

If you get Google alerts or some similar service, you already know that the California Supreme Court has issued a ruling recognizing a right to marriage for same-sex couples. From the San Diego Union-Tribune:

The state Supreme Court struck down California’s marriage law banning same sex couples from getting married in a historic decision Thursday that declared the law unconstitutional discrimination.
The decision will surely touch off an impassioned political fight.
The 4-3 opinion is the high court’s most important civil rights decision in more than a decade, and it is an epic legal victory for same-sex marriage advocates. California is now the second state in the nation to allow gays and lesbians to be legally married.
According to the opinion, “we determine that the language of section 300 limiting the designation of marriage to a union ‘between a man and a woman’ is unconstitutional and must be stricken from the statute, and that the remaining statutory language must be understood as making the designation of marriage available both to opposite-sex and same-sex couples.”

Email alerts reactions from various groups range from “a full win” by gay groups to “a disregard of California voters” from conservative groups. The November ballot initiative will now be considered an effort to overturn this ruling.
Fallout and reactions:
Presidential candidates reactions
New York Times
Schwarzennegger
Associated Press

California court says parents must be credentialed to home school

Should home schooling parents have teaching degrees? A California court believes so. The transcript of the court ruling is linked in this Mercury News article.

Apparently, these parents thought they had their kids in an approved private school but the judges in this child abuse case thought otherwise.

My suspicion is that this ruling will not be sustained by higher courts.