Disaster Averted? Calif. Governor Vetoes Bill Aimed at Religious Groups’ Hiring

October 18, 2017

by Shane Vander Hart


On Sunday, California Governor Jerry Brown vetoed AB 569. The bill, introduced by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher (D-San Diego), would have prohibited faith-based organizations including churches, colleges, non-profit organizations, and pro-life pregnancy centers from having a code of conduct about abortion and sexual behavior.

The bill only provided a ministerial exemption for those who are an “employee who leads a religious organization, conducts worship services or important religious ceremonies or rituals, or serves as a messenger or teacher of its faith.”

The bill passed the California Assembly in May on a 54 to 17 vote. The California Senate amended the bill and passed it last month by a 27 to 13 vote. The Assembly then adopted the amended version on September 14, 55 to 20.

While Governor Brown did veto the bill on Sunday, his rationale was less than inspiring. “The California Fair Employment and Housing Act has long banned such adverse actions, except for religious institutions. I believe these types of claims should remain within the jurisdiction of the Department of Fair Employment and Housing,” he wrote in his veto message.

The bill said, “Existing law creates the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement in the Department of Industrial Relations for the purpose of enforcing labor laws.”

So was Brown’s objection about striking down an exemption for religious institutions (except clergy) or did he object to who had jurisdiction?

It appears that his primary beef is with which department would oversee the enforcement of the law.

The State of California has no business telling faith-based organizations that they cannot expect their staff to live out the institution’s beliefs. It is ludicrous to think that a pro-life pregnancy center would be unable to dismiss a staff member for getting an abortion which is utterly contrary to the mission of the organization.

Also, non-ministerial staff are crucial to advancing a religious organization’s faith-based mission. An inability for the organization to not be able to hold its personnel accountable will lead to a breakdown of that mission.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0


Shane Vander Hart, an Iowa native, is the online communications manager for the American Principles Project and a frequent contributor to TruthInAmericanEducation.com. Shane is also the Editor-in-Chief for CaffeinatedThoughts.com, a popular Christian conservative blog.

Archive: Shane Vander Hart

6 comments on “Disaster Averted? Calif. Governor Vetoes Bill Aimed at Religious Groups’ Hiring”

  • jk105 says:

    “The State of California has no business telling faith-based organizations that they cannot expect their staff to live out the institution’s beliefs.”

    Agreed. State have no right telling religious organizations who they should hire. States also have no business telling faith-based organizations that they cannot expect their staff to live out the institution’s belief that they should be able to perform legal same-sex marriages. Right? Then why have so many right wing religionist organizations lobbied the government to ban same-sex marriage, thus being enemies of religious liberty?

    • Shane Vander Hart says:

      I’ve not heard of a state not allowing a wedding ceremony.

      And no, a same-sex marriage ban is not violating religious liberty, but we’ve seen lots of examples of how same-sex wedding proponents have violated the religious liberty of those who disagree. Thanks for the straw man argument.

      • Jk105 says:

        Actually if the state or federal government bans same-sex marriage, Christian Churches therefore are denied their religious liberty to perform legal same sex marriages. If you haven’t heard of a state not allowing a legal same sex wedding, you must be less than six years old, which is when the Supreme Court overturned those bans. Thanks for your ignorance.

      • jui says:

        “And no, a same-sex marriage ban is not violating religious liberty,”

        Actually, it is a straight-forward violation of the religious liberty of Christian churches that want to perform legal same-sex marriages. It sounds to me like Shane only wants religious liberty for his right wing religionists, but not for those Christian churches that don’t conform to his political agenda. Shane advocates theocracy.

      • kern says:

        Nice point.
        Vander Hart also states: “we’ve seen lots of examples of how same-sex wedding proponents have violated the religious liberty of those who disagree”

        By that I guess he means the conservatives who don’t want to serve gay people in secular public accommodations because common decency towards homosexuals violates their so-called religion. The irony here is that Vander Hart believes people get to act out on their religious beliefs (even if it breaks the law) in secular for profit business, but he has no problem using Big Government to prohibit an actual Christian church from performing a legal same-sex marriage.
        Strange reasoning on his part. Sounds like right wing theocracy to me.

      • nino says:

        Yes, Shane seems to cheer on the brute force of government when it prohibits a Christian Church from performing a legal same-sex marriage. Shane seems to only want religious liberty for his church but not for the Christian Churches he disagrees with. Shane hates religious liberty.
        Hypocrisy.

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