Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Appeals Court Says Private School Can Descriminate Based On Sexual Orientation

It appears as though members of the extreme right aren’t just content with taking the basic right to get married away from people, but they have now moved on to claiming that members of the GLBT don’t even have to basic right to receive an education at certain schools. Perhaps the saddest part is that according to an article in the LA Times, a California Court of appeals has agreed with the extreme right on the issue.
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.
Even though there was no evidence that the girls had disrupted the classroom in any manner and that they were simply “best friends,” the Court still claimed the discrimination was acceptable because it fit a precedent laid out by a case involving the Boy Scouts of America. That case claimed that the Boy Scouts wasn’t a business, but a social organization, and therefore didn’t have to worry about following the Unruh Civil Rights Act. By claiming that this private school, and private schools aren’t exactly the cheapest thing to attend, isn’t a business the appeals court was essentially saying that organizations can deny people their basic civil rights as long as they give the courts any unjustifiable reason to claim they don’t have to follow the Civil Rights Act.

Thankfully the two students haven’t let the situation ruin their lives as they are both now in college and are receiving a high quality education. Fortunately, they also realize that they need to stand up against discrimination and help ensure that nobody else is denied an opportunity for education simply because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Hopefully the California Supreme Court will also realize that this shouldn't happen.

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