CalNonprofits Articles

CalNonprofits was approached at the end of February by an NBC reporter seeking our comments on a bill recently introduced by California Senator Ricardo Lara (D- District 33, Los Angeles County): Senate Bill 323, the "Youth Equality Act" of 2013.

Intended to strip the Boy Scouts of their tax-exempt status due to their policies that bar gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people from serving as scouts or as leaders, if signed into law in its current form, SB 323 would do two things:

  • “Public youth charities" -- such as Scouts, Little Leagues, YMCAs and soccer leagues -- that discriminate on the basis of gender identity, race, sexual orientation, nationality, religion, or religious affiliation would lose their California tax exempt status and would have to pay taxes on their donations and other income.
  • Youth-serving organizations (nonprofit and other) who discriminate on the basis of gender identity, race, sexual orientation, nationality, religion, or religious affiliation would lose their ability to collect tax-free revenue from the intermittent sales of food, beverages and other merchandise made by the organization (such as Girl Scout cookies, hot dog sales at sports meets).

At CalNonprofits, we are opposed to discrimination by any organization -- for-profit, religious organization, or nonprofit -- on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, or other matters. At the same time, we believe that the tax exemption is the wrong lever through which to enforce anti-discrimination laws and end discriminatory practices.

Nonprofit organizations are expressions of free speech, and should be allowed to exist representing wide varieties of opinion. We should take action against discrimination through the civil and criminal courts, through public pressure, and by moving our donations and volunteer hours elsewhere.

At CalNonprofits, we are deeply sensitive to the struggles of marginalized people to assert equal rights in society. Our staff includes LGBT people and people of color, and our membership reflects a diverse spectrum of organizations who serve the common good in California and beyond. We believe it is right to challenge and overcome discrimination in all its forms.

We have been in communication with both supporters of the bill and those opposing it. We worked with Equality California and with Senator Lara's staff to find ways to amend the bill that would allow us to support it, but were not able to reach a mutually agreeable version. The bill was hear on April 10th by the State Senate Governance and Finance Committee and passed. It will now be heard by the Senate Appropriations Committee.

We will keep you informed about the bill's progress and encourage you to engage with legislators in your district. Voicing your opposition or support for a bill - by sending a letter or calling the legislators office - is an important way to raise the profile of your organization and the sector.  

Comments   

0 # Ame 2013-09-03 19:32
I respect everyone's choice, no matter what other believe and stand for. This bill sounds like the discrimination will be removed once approve and become law; however, the liberty and freedom of choice is limited to those do not agree with. We are living in a county with diversity in culture and background; and this is the county that people choose to live and become the citizen. With all kinds of bills with restriction & so-call bills to protect certain groups, where is the protection and liberty to other groups? I do not see I have any more liberty to choose the way I want to live. Seem like the senator and government tells me how I should live that I won't be against. Totally unconstitutiona l!
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-1 # Jan Masaoka 2013-08-28 20:50
I don't like bills that target specific organizations, either. It's not a strategy that calls to the best within us.

But I do oppose discrimination against people who are LGBT, as do many people within the scouting community as well as former scouts. I hope that such people will be successful at bringing about change of policies from within scouting -- as I hope that like-minded people within all organizations that discriminate such as religious organizations, corporations, government, and any nonprofit organizations, will be successful in opposing discrimination.
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+2 # Keith 2013-08-28 20:45
If they can do this with these non-profit organizations, what could they do wi churches & synagogues which are covered by the same non-profit organization laws? fascists!
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+1 # Jon 2013-08-28 20:07
Why is it that it's a crime to stand by facts? It's important to respect others, but forcing affirmation is completely unjust. When will the people come first in the eyes of politicians and the millionaires who influence them?

This isn't the United States I know from the Constitution and Bill of Rights.
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+6 # Chris Dillon 2013-08-27 16:49
SB323 is nothing less but reverse discrimination. I am not telling anyone what to believe; their beliefs and actions are their own business. B
ut who is anyone to tell me that I cannot believe what I want and act on those beliefs? What a sad state this country is in when how a person has sex is more important than another person's faith or religion!
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+2 # Floyd 2013-08-27 08:39
We have gone over the edge of sanity in this far far left radical state of Ka Ka land, where retarded liberals rein supreme and sanity left back in the late 1990s! This along with a LOT of other bills are completely absurd! But when you have a veto proof liberal dictatorship what do you expect!
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