A California state legislator has introduced a bill that would ban travel by state employees to any state that has a religious-liberty law viewed as “discriminatory” against LGBTs.
Assembly Bill 1887 was introduced Feb. 11 by Assemblyman Evan Low, D-Silicon Valley.
And that’s not all. Low said he introduced a “package” of bills meant to stop state funds from flowing to any person or entity that uses the First Amendment’s religious-liberty clause to “discriminate” against the LGBT community.
Another bill in his arsenal is AB 1888, which would cut off student financial aid for private colleges and universities, particularly religious ones, that are not perceived to be LGBT friendly.
“AB 1888 would require all institutions receiving CalGrant dollars to certify to the California Student Aid Commission that they do not discriminate on the basis of, among other things, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression,” according to a press release on Low’s website. These colleges would also be prohibited from seeking a Title IX waiver from the U.S. Department of Education as a condition of receiving state funds.
“I’m proud to be a voice for the LGBT community throughout the state and in the country,” Low said on his website. “The Golden State has always been a leader in protecting civil rights and preventing discrimination. Our zero-tolerance policy says there is no room for discrimination of any kind in California, and will certainly not be tolerated beyond our borders.”
Bill would prevent college teams from playing in 21 states
But apparently Low did not think through his legislation thoroughly before placing it in the hopper.
WND contacted his staff Thursday and was told that the bill is in the process of being rewritten to accommodate some powerful state officials who have complained that it would prevent them from traveling out of state to conduct necessary business.
The athletic teams in the University of California system, for instance, including the powerhouse football teams like UCLA and USC that rake in millions in profits for the university system, would not be allowed to travel to Illinois, Florida, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Texas, Virginia and the rest of the 21 states that have religious liberty laws on the books.
Would they have to forfeit those games to their opponents?
“We’re addressing this issue right now, because we’re getting calls right now from different entities that travel outside the state,” said Melissa Apuya, a legislative aide for Low. “The intent of the bill was to ban employee travel but (as written) it could affect even those at the constitutional level that travel. The insurance commissioner, for example, who travels to different states to attend conferences. So we’re talking now to our staff and our legal counsel to figure out what changes may be needed.”
Former small-city mayor moves up
Low, 32, was elected in November 2014 with the support of the South Bay Area’s powerful LGBT community. Before that he served on the Campbell City Council and was mayor of Campbell. At the time, in 2009, he was the “youngest openly gay, Asian-American mayor in the nation,” according to the San Jose Mercury News.
While mayor of San Francisco, the state’s Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a proclamation naming June 5, 2006, “Evan Low Day” in the City and County of San Francisco.
Low is also known for launching a petition on the website Change.org, that sought to have the Food and Drug Administration lift its ban on gay and bisexual men from donating blood.
“These bills send a clear message that the state of California does not tolerate discrimination in any form,” said Rick Zbur, executive director of Equality California, an LGBT advocacy group. “Now that the LGBT community has won marriage equality and made so many positive strides in other areas, we are seeing a disturbing trend of our opponents using exemptions based on religious freedom to justify discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations and other areas. These bills end state subsidies of educational institutions that refuse to treat all students and employees equally, as well as state-funded travel to jurisdictions that discriminate.”
Critics allege hypocrisy
But critics say the bills are themselves discriminatory and show a complete lack of tolerance toward people of faith and religious institutions.
Brad Dacus, president of the Pacific Justice Institute, said his group opposes AB 1887 and AB 1888 because they would establish the state itself as choosing the rights of one group over another – in this case the perceived rights of LGBTs to buy wedding flowers or photography services from Christian businesses over the rights of Christians to freely exercise their religious faith as enshrined in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
“AB 1887 is hypocritical, elitist and out of step with our First Freedom, religious liberty,” Dacus said in a statement. “While we all would like to see less wasteful travel at taxpayer expense—particularly by members of the Legislature—this is not the way to do it.”
This is simply another example of the radical “gay agenda” re-packaged as a matter of “fairness,” said Carl Gallups, a Christian author, radio host and Baptist minister based in Florida. “While touting equality for the LGBT community, apparently they are more than willing to trample upon and completely redefine the First Amendment liberties of other groups.”
In so conducting themselves, the duplicity of the leftist gay activists continues to be exposed, said Gallups, author of “Be Thou Prepared: Equipping the Church for Persecution and Times of Trouble.”
“I really do not think that Mr. Evan Low thought this matter through before submitting this knee-jerk legislation,” he said. “It is certainly bound to be fraught with all sorts of legal ‘loop-holes’ and workarounds. I can’t imagine California attempting to conduct its normal affairs of state in cooperation with the rest of the nation, while being hamstrung with such an absurd piece of legislation.”
Gallups, like other conservative Christian leaders, predicted when the Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision came down last June that the LGBT community was not going to be satisfied with marriage equality.
“I predicted they would simply use the legal travesty as a foundation from which to continually launch one insane and perverted agenda after another,” he said. “Mr. Low’s proposed legislation is a shining example of that prediction coming to pass.
“In effect, Mr. Low is requiring that every religious institution in America, especially educational institutions, bow their knee to the biblically defined perversion of homosexual marriage. Not only must we ‘tolerate’ it, legally acknowledge it, and finance it through our tax dollars – we now must be forced to ‘submit’ to its entire agenda. What happened to the ‘tolerance’ and ‘diversity celebration’ that the gay community claimed to represent?”
Gallups said if California passes this legislation he expects it will further drive the state into a deeper pit of financial ruin.
“I doubt seriously if other states will easily bow to the bullying tactics of another state,” he said.
Still, the biblical response is to “reach out with the love of Jesus Christ to everyone around us, including those under the bondage of homosexuality, yet still speak the absolute biblical truth of the matter whenever it is appropriate to do so,” he said. “As the darkness grows darker, Christians must shine the light brighter. The love of Christ overcomes the evil of Satan.”
The bills will be referred to a policy committee in the coming weeks and will be heard in committee this spring.