1/29/2009

Deja Vu All Over Again

May 18th, 2006Image via Wikipedia

To those who snicker when people say "Gay is the new Black" turn your eyes to California where two girls were expelled from their school for having "a bond of intimacy" that was "characteristic of a lesbian relationship."

In other words, the looked like Lesbians and acted like Lesbians, ergo there are Lesbians. The Lutheran school undoubtedly did not catch them doing anything unusual such as performing sex acts in the hallways, rather they had a "bond of intimacy" with the "characteristic of a lesbian relationship."

So, the school kicked the girls out. The girls sued. The case ended up in the California Fourth District Court of Appeals who amazingly found that the school being a "private business" could do what it pleased. Even though the school is covered under a California public accommodations law that prevents discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. But, here's the thing. The school didn't even say they were actually Lesbians it said they looked and acted like Lesbians! In other words, a school expelled two kids for no reason other than something about them made some Christian nut feel creeped out or have unclean thoughts himself or herself.

After a Lutheran school expelled two 16-year-old girls for having "a bond of intimacy" that was "characteristic of a lesbian relationship," the girls sued, contending the school had violated a state anti-discrimination law.

In response to that suit, an appeals court decided this week that the private religious school was not a business and therefore did not have to comply with a state law that prohibits businesses from discriminating. A lawyer for the girls said Tuesday that he would ask the California Supreme Court to overturn the unanimous ruling by a three-judge panel of the 4th District Court of Appeal.

The appeals court called its decision "narrow," but lawyers on both sides of the case said it would protect private religious schools across California from such discrimination suits.

Kirk D. Hanson, who represented the girls, said the "very troubling" ruling would permit private schools to discriminate against anyone, as long as the schools used their religious beliefs as justification...

Pam's House Blend has the usual excellent analysis of the issue including some cogent arguments seemingly lost on the 4th District justices such as why a religious school chartered as a non-profit and providing a service or product for a price is allowed to skirt the state act while other non-profits providing such products and services are bound by it? Does having a denomination's name in your title allow you to pick and choose which laws apply to you? Is "religion" a carte blanche to treat people in any manner you choose and works as a "get out of jail free" card if you openly flaunt state or even federal law?

Looks like this one will make its way to the CA Supreme Court. How will it turn out? Will this be whistlestop on the way to the Supremes? Wait and see.


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