California Governor Jerry Brown on Friday signed Senate Bill 1146, which had been fiercely opposed by right-wing activists in a campaign targeting lawmakers with emails and protest, funded to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Read the bill here.
Equality California reports:
The bill requires private universities receiving public funds to publicly disclose if they discriminate against students with respect to gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation. Senate Bill 1146 requires universities that are granted a Title IX exemption to notify the California Student Aid Commission and disseminate the information to students and staff.
The bill was introduced by Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) and sponsored by Equality California.
Said Lara in a press release:
“No university should have a license to discriminate, especially those receiving state funds. Those that do will now have to inform incoming students of their Title 9 exemption. This law represents a critical first step in the ongoing efforts to protect students from discrimination for living their truths or loving openly.”
Equality California adds:
At the federal level, Title IX prohibits discrimination based on gender, including sexual orientation and gender identity, in education programs and activities that receive federal funding. However, if a university believes compliance with Title IX would conflict with its religion it may submit an exemption request to the U.S. Department of Education. The department has very little discretion and most requests are granted.
Many students are unaware of the exemption and what the potential consequences might be in the event their sexual orientation or gender identity does not align with the university’s discriminatory policies. Students and staff across the country have reported learning of an exemption only after being expelled from school or fired from their jobs. Over the last three years there has been a significant increase in the number of universities that apply for and receive an exemption to Title IX. Only one school was granted an exemption in 2013. Today, some 43 schools nationally have received exemptions, with at least six of them in California. Currently, universities that have Title IX exemptions do not have to disclose them to students or staff.
Said Equality California executive director Rick Zbur: “The public needs to know which schools have licenses to discriminate against LGBT people and to ignore California’s civil rights protections. This law will give fair warning to students, staff and faculty members before they accept enrollment or employment at a university with a license to discriminate.”
“What opponents of this bill try to hide from the public and the press is that SB 1146 applies only to private colleges that use taxpayer dollars. It is the longstanding policy and law of the state of California that state taxpayer dollars cannot be used to discriminate against LGBT people. If these colleges and universities want to continue to discriminate against LGBT students and employees, with cruel and harsh consequences for their lives, they should not expect California taxpayers to fund it.”
The law will take effect on January 1.