Boy Scouts | California | News | Ricardo Lara

California Senate Approves Bill That Could Strip the Boy Scouts of Tax Exempt Status Over Gay Ban: VIDEO


Back in February I posted about a bill introduced by openly gay California state senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) that would strip the Boy Scouts' tax exempt status for discriminating against members and leaders on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Yesterday, that bill, the Youth Equality Act, became the first LGBT rights bill in California history to pass with a two thirds majority when the Senate approved it in a 27-9 vote.

Writes Karen Ocamb at Frontiers:

LaraLara opened his roughly six and a half minute speech on the Senate floor with the Boy Scout pledge and then noted that neither the Girl Scouts, nor the 4-H clubs, nor the Boys & Girls of America nor the YMCA discriminate against gay kids, making them eligible for tax-exemption. The BSA, however, “is an organization with the central flaw so profound that until it is fully fixed, it means that they are out of line with the values of California and should be ineligible for a tax benefit paid for again by all Californians…”

Members, we’ve given the Boy Scouts ample time to solve their discrimination problem and they’ve chosen a path that still leads to discrimination. The BSA’s recent vote to allow gay youth as members falls short of truly implementing a truly inclusive policy. While it is a step in the right direction, continuing the ban on LGBT adults is premised on absurd assumptions and stereotypes that perpetuate hate and homophobia.

Lara closed his presentation with another pledge, the oath the members of the Legislature took to faithfully discharge their duties and follow California law. 

“I am proud that my colleagues joined me today on the right side of history by voting for the Youth Equality Act,” stated Senator Lara. “The protections in this bill live beyond the transitory actions any group may take now or in the future. The LGBT community must be protected in perpetuity.”

Watch Lara speak on the Senate floor, AFTER THE JUMP...

The bill now moves on to the Assembly.

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  1. Very good.

    Posted by: Francis #1 | May 30, 2013 10:36:38 AM

  2. Now THAT is the way to send a message to the bigots
    lording over the BSA.

    California, we are so very proud of the strides you have made since Nov. 4th, 2008.

    Don't know the date? Ask a Californian Mormon or the former Pope.

    Expect wailing and gnashing of teeth.

    Posted by: mic | May 30, 2013 11:23:08 AM

  3. WoW! This guy is truly an American hero. Let's keep him in office! Stop all assistance, volunteerism, kindness to the Boy Scouts of America. Shame them OUT of California.

    Posted by: Mike Ryan | May 30, 2013 11:32:28 AM

  4. Finally
    It's high time that the repugnant stranglehold on society by religious fundamentalism is addressed legislatively.

    Posted by: JONES | May 30, 2013 11:32:47 AM

  5. WERK!

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | May 30, 2013 11:38:15 AM

  6. While I am an Eagle Scout; I have been ashamed of the organization's conduct for years. Way back when I was in BSA we had respect for those who were different. I was still active when the fight for allowing women to lead in BOY Scout troops as opposed to CUB Scout troops started; and the allowing of girls in EXPLORER troops. It mirrored the fight in my church for allowing women the right to vote in church elections. The arguments both entities used then to discriminate against women are the same that are being used against gays; but much more effectively now(witness the obvious coerced boys holding signs against the change). The conservatives have become much more sophisticated at the "sound" and "video" bite to appeal to the knee jerk reactions. Considering how many Americans cannot think past a reflex that is usually good but makes our jobs harder.
    Since they have gone so reactionary and discriminatory I have long advocated that the City of San Diego strip them of their free (or nominal $1) rent on acreage in Balboa Park. That one of the east coast cities is doing this is good. They need to see that if they continue to discriminate and want tax-free status it won't happen. Bravo for Sen. Lara for standing up for right not might.
    No one should have the right to discriminate against anyone based upon our laws, if a church wants to that's fine but "if render unto Caesar..." is not followed (in other words they have to live under the laws of the country they live in) then the church should not be tax exempt which is a form of support.
    As far as I'm concerned every Church or organization that wants an exemption for not following a law they should lose their tax exempt status. Every additional law, after the first, they want to avoid following should increase their taxes for the additional work to certify their exemption. See how long they find it in their interest to avoid laws.

    Posted by: Steve | May 30, 2013 11:47:45 AM

  7. Bravo to Senator Ricardo Lara and to the California Senate!. It's about time somebody stood-up to this homophobic boy-scout bullies. They are free to continue to discriminate if they choose to -- but not at the expense of my tax dollars.

    Posted by: Alex Parrish | May 30, 2013 11:58:42 AM

  8. This is nothing less than "jihad" by the LGBT community. BSA sold their principals on the promise of political favor and money (donations from large corporate sponsors). As an Eagle Scout and long time adult leader, I can honestly say I am ashamed of the May 23 vote. The LGBT community will never support BSA and BSA will loose many of its chartering organizations (quite quickly) due to actions such as these. The LGBT community has practiced a systematic campaign of coercion and intimidation against BSA and others that do not believe like they do. Tolerance? Maybe from BSA, but none from the LGBT community.

    After many years, it grieves me to say that I cannot support BSA any longer. Its about the principal. Even the SCOTUS supported their position. This sends a dangerous message to future scouts - when the going gets rough, do whatever it takes to make it easier. Even if it means giving up what you believe.

    Boy Scouts of America
    February 8, 1910 - May 23, 2013
    Rest in Peace

    Posted by: Bob Williams | May 30, 2013 12:27:00 PM

  9. The scout decision was actually based on a distinction between action and feelings. I support the new policy, but then gain I, like Bob, have different assumptions than the usual viewers of this site.

    Anyhow, this may be dead in the assembly. They need 54 votes and there are 53 democrats... Does anybody know if vacant seats count towards the 2/3 requirement?

    Posted by: Michael Worley | May 30, 2013 12:41:48 PM

  10. @Bob Williams
    As opposed to the 'jihad' against LGBT people by the religious fundamentalists since the middle ages.

    You're attacking those who oppose systematic institutionalized bigotry against KIDS. The 864 individual delegates voted for inclusion because they were ashamed to be part of an organization that would try to condone such bigotry when once the effects of that policy were made public. That's what exposure does. That's why we do it.

    You don't have to believe like I do. But you damn sure are going to get a fight when you bring your 'tolerance' to a issue that hurts my kids.

    Posted by: JONES | May 30, 2013 1:02:21 PM

  11. All this does is further fuel the suspicions that churches are next for denial of tax exemptions. I don't think many here understand that the people you're referring to as "bigots" include probably close to 50% of the population. It isn't just the religious who are still on the fence regarding gay issues. The recent changes in the Boy Scout policy were a good sign and pushing for more at this time is likely to slow down progress. Unfortunately you DO have to care what "bigots" think. These last thing you want is for these people to elect more Republicans at the state level - which they can easily do as protest.

    From what I hear many are already leaving the Boy Scouts because of the inclusion of gay scouts. There is a danger that a future theme will be that the BSA was "killed by the gays" if it turns out that the organization goes under completely. Never mind that it won't be the truth. People will say it anyway. I'd love to know what Jonathan Rauch thinks about this issue.

    Posted by: Mary | May 30, 2013 1:04:59 PM

  12. And for every bigoted sponsor it losses another that respects equality will take it's place.

    Posted by: JONES | May 30, 2013 1:05:27 PM

  13. JONES, sponsors don't matter if people won't join an organization. Also if red state parents pull their children out of scouting and start their own scout-type organizations, it means their kids have less and less contact with kids from more diverse and liberal-minded families. This only makes attitudes even harder to change. Red state Americans and Blue state Americans are already separated enough from each other.

    Posted by: Mary | May 30, 2013 1:11:39 PM

  14. Mary: so basically we should excuse bigotry in the hopes that eventually people will come around? Yeah, because that worked out so well for racial minorities and women.

    Posted by: MateoM | May 30, 2013 1:24:25 PM

  15. The reason it's 'down' to less than 50% now is because of awareness. Once confronted and challenged about the effects the bigotry encased in their religious doctrines were causing the majority of people were ashamed to be a part of that system of oppression any longer.

    When bigotry is exposed most people will say they don't condone it. Some will be shocked to learn they were an unknowing supporter of it. Haters will embrace it, relish it and try to justify it by whatever means they hope will work. And then there are the Bob Williams of the world who will try to make LGBT people out to be the villains because we stand up for ourselves and our loved ones.

    Posted by: JONES | May 30, 2013 1:26:26 PM

  16. @Mary
    Kids could care less if there were gay scouts in their troop. This is solely about bigoted parents. That fear of BSA doom is unsubstantiated. The Scouts will not only survive but will grow stronger because they took one right step towards equality.

    Posted by: JONES | May 30, 2013 1:35:47 PM

  17. good luck but when the city advocate of Philadelphia tried to deny Boy Scouts free access to a city building due to their bigoted practices, the city got rid of him.

    Posted by: Cd in DC | May 30, 2013 1:39:46 PM

  18. Next will be the Catholic Church.

    Posted by: simon | May 30, 2013 1:49:19 PM

  19. Receiving a tax exemption is a trust. It is receiving a form of support by the people of the state. When an organization acts in violation of anti-discrimination laws it should not receive this exemption. When a religious enters the political arena it should not be exempt. The tea party groups investigated by the IRS are political groups that should not be tax exempt. Let the BSA have its principles, however hateful, but why should taxpayers be on the hook for it?

    Posted by: terry | May 30, 2013 1:50:52 PM

  20. well, that's the thing - if excluding gays is THAT important to you then put your money where your mouth is - help fund a gay-exclusive group. put your money into it, fund it, and ensure a gay-free environment for your son.

    just don't be surprised if one day you knock on your son's door to see if he's ready for his Troop meeting and you find him hanging by his neck.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | May 30, 2013 1:59:28 PM

  21. Only problem: Normal, healthy people are oriented toward work or family or an interest they have. Any person who is 'sexually" oriented is sick.

    Posted by: Mr Science | May 30, 2013 2:56:40 PM

  22. Bob Williams posted an identical rant on the Reuters page. What a blowhard.

    Posted by: MateoM | May 30, 2013 4:10:05 PM

  23. A nice stunt but completely unconstitutional. Under the first amendment, all tax laws need to be content neutral.

    Posted by: anon | May 30, 2013 4:29:51 PM

  24. Using taxes to punish speech/association is the embodiment of the evil of our current tax system.

    The BSA should not get special tax treatment. No club, business, or person should get special tax treatment. This is why we need to go to a VAT tax system. Then the government is not in the position to decide who has good thoughts and who has bad thoughts.

    Posted by: David Hearne | May 30, 2013 4:54:14 PM

  25. Mr. David Hearne, sir, have you EVER seen an newly instituted tax "replace" another form of taxation, as in the removal of another regime of taxation? European countries legislated VAT years before the EU came into being; it was an additional tax then and it today endures as just one more tax in addition to property taxes, income taxes, sales taxes, franchise taxes, and so on.

    The question before us in this article is the "tax-exemption" of an organization that violates California's very progressive laws against personal and institutional discrimination in the public square. For my part, aside from this undeserved and misplaced limited exemption from the prohibition against discrimination, it has always confounded me that churches, mosques and synagogues (and especially the cartoon-book Scientology racket) get tax-exempt status when the US Constitution demands that no practice should aid in the "establishment of religion." Would that I could be tax-free aided in the "establishment" of my efforts to earn an income and spend my money without the "disestablishing" effects upon my personal budget of having to pay my fair share of taxes!

    Posted by: Tom Cardellino | May 31, 2013 12:18:02 AM

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