A state appeals court has upheld the right of California Lutheran High School to expel two girls it “believes” are lesbians, because the school is “a social organization entitled to follow its own principles, not a business subject to state anti-discrimination laws.”
Kirk Hanson, a lawyer for the two girls, said he was disappointed and would talk to them about a possible appeal to the state Supreme Court.
According to the court, he said, “if you’re a religious school, you can discriminate on any basis you want.”
He also noted that all children must attend school, either public or private, and said schools serve different purposes from a voluntary organization like the Boy Scouts.
John McKay, a lawyer for California Lutheran, said he was pleased the court recognized that “a religious school is not a business, and the purpose of a religious school is to teach Christian values.”
Any state law that required the school to admit gays or lesbians would violate the school’s freedom of expression and religion, McKay said.
(Italics mine.) If you haven’t lost your appetite already, here’s the delicious irony. I wanted to confirm that California Lutheran High School is NOT an ELCA institution, so I went to their web site and poked around. Their statement of faith declares that they are affiliated with the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod. I started reading the statement, but a friend I emailed it to got through it faster, and wrote back to highlight this item from the “Church and State” section:
9. We reject any views that hold that citizens are free to disobey such laws of the state with which they disagree on the basis of personal judgment.
Ah. Bad for citizens to do this; OK for “social organizations.” (Duff?, are you out there? Help me understand.)
Speaking of religious homophobia, this seems like a good place to sing the praises of the good people at Faith in America. I’d love to get my hands on a copy of their new book, Crisis:40 Stories Revealing the Personal, Social, and Religious Pain and Trauma of Growing Up Gay in America. If I didn’t let this poor blog languish, untended, for so many days at a time, perhaps I’d get enough traffic to request a review copy!
(Updated to fix a link.)