Bill That Would Strip Boy Scouts of Tax Exempt Status Over Gay Ban Stalls Out in California

A bill that would have stripped the Boy Scouts of tax exempt status has stalled in California, the AP reports:

LaraSB323 by Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, would deny state tax breaks to nonprofit youth groups that discriminate on the basis of gender identity, race, sexual orientation, nationality, religion or religious affiliation.

Because the legislation is a tax measure, it requires a two-thirds vote in both houses to pass. The Senate approved it in May, but it was placed on the inactive file in the Assembly on Thursday, which is expected to be the final day of this year's legislative session.

Scouting leaders had objected that the bill would harm local troops that serve 180,000 California children and teenagers. Conservative legal aid groups promised to sue if the measure became law on the grounds that it would punish an organization based on its beliefs.

The Senate had approved it in a 27-9 vote making it the first LGBT rights measure to pass with a two-thirds majority.

NOM, having little to celebrate in their anti-equality marriage crusade, was happy to take credit:

"We're pleased that common sense prevailed in this case. This bill was put forward to punish groups that refused to embrace the radical homosexual agenda including same-sex marriage," explained Brian Brown NOM president. "The failed attempt to pass legislation like this is clear proof that one of the first casualties of redefining marriage is our precious religious liberties."

NOM, with many other state and national groups, urged their membership to contact their representatives in opposition to this bill. Nearly 400 emails, letters, and calls were generated directly by the National Organization for Marriage.

"Like the recent victories for marriage in Australia and Pennsylvania, the tabling of this legislation demonstrates that marriage and family champions can be victorious when their voices are clearly heard in the halls of power," continued Brown. "NOM and its allies will continue to build on these victories as we stand for traditional values wherever they are under attack."


  1. Patric says

    What I love about episodes like these is that they expose NOM’s often utilized argument that they are not an anti-gay organization and simply an organization dedicated to preserving a traditional definition of marriage as bull. This issue has absolutely nothing to do with marriage, yet the raging homophobes at NOM can’t help themselves from jumping in.

  2. Gregory In Seattle says

    It seems perfectly reasonable: any organization that receives tax breaks must obey the state’s non-discrimination laws. Organizations are free to set their own policies, of course, but they are not free to feed at the public trough.

    But even that is too much for the bigots to handle.

  3. jtaskw says

    Claiming that non-endorsement of your discriminatory practices amounts to “punishing us based on our beliefs” poetically destroys any tortured reasoning behind their “love the sinner, hate the sin” rhetoric.

  4. Hagatha says

    You can’t use taxes to shut down first amendment rights. The USSC has determined that the BSA is a private religious group. The obligation of government is to cease to give special privileges to the BSA that they enjoyed when it was commonly held that it was open to all the boys of a certain age. Singling them out to lose tax exempt status is not the government’s prerogative.

  5. Bill says

    @Hagatha: contrary to NOM’s propaganda, the BSA was not singled out explicitly. While there may have been changes since the link I found, here’s an official description of the bill from the California government’s web site:

    The Legislative Counsel’s summary states that “This bill would revise the Sales and Use Tax Law exemption for those organizations, as provided. This bill would also provide, for taxable years beginning on or after January 1, 2014, 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.”

    It also explains why a 2/3 vote was needed to pass it.

    If the Boy Scouts are the only ones affected, that would occur only if they were the only ones discriminating.

  6. Hagatha says

    Bill, That’s nice and the health benefit law in Maryland never mentioned Walmart but it was clearly aimed at Walmart and it was struck down by the court. You simply can’t tax or untax people because you don’t like what they say or do. The BSA is only open to people who meet the BSA’s definition of “morally straight” and they are free to define that as they wish, today or with a new definition tomorrow. The Catholic Church is only open for membership to people who will go through Catechism, swear to it, and be confirmed in the faith. The law does not distinguish between that and swearing in to the Elk’s Club.

    Really the only way to run afoul of your tax exempt status is to accept outside catering business out of your church or club in excess of the threshold defined in law.

  7. andrew says

    I don’t think that any groups or individuals should get special tax breaks. We should all pay an equal amount. The government should not be favoring certain individuals or groups over others!!!!!

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