Last week the California Supreme Court let stand a lower court ruling that allowed a private religious school to expel two teenage girls for having an alleged lesbian relationship.
The girls were juniors at California Lutheran High School when their principal, Gregory Bork, called them to his office in September 2005 and questioned them separately about their sexual orientation, after another student reported postings on their MySpace pages. He then suspended them based on their answers, and the school's directors expelled them a month later stating they were exhibiting “a bond of intimacy” that was “characteristic of a lesbian relationship.”The teens parents initially sued the Riverside County school, based on the Unruh Act, a 1959 state law that forbids discrimination by businesses that was amended in 2005 to include bias based on sexual orientation, as well as someone else's perception of sexual orientation.
In January, the Fourth District Court of Appeal in San Bernardino said the school is not a business, but a social organization entitled to follow its principles. The ruling relied on a 1998 California Supreme Court decision that allowed the Boy Scouts to exclude gays and atheists. The Boy Scouts of America, which had faced similar discrimination charges, did not have to comply with the state's anti-discrimination law because it was a social organization.
Advocates for religious freedom called it "the right decision," however, the teen's attorney, Mike Grace, said he fears the decision could open the door for more religious discrimination.
Los Angeles Times