The state of California already has laws banning discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in housing, jobs, schools and education. But there’s a loophole that still allows youth organizations that discriminate against LGBT people — like the Boy Scouts — to get a tax exemption for working in the public interest.
Senate Bill 323 will ensure that non-profit youth groups that receive state tax privileges comply with existing California anti-discrimination laws.
We know that discrimination isn’t in the public interest. We know that being excluded has real costs for LGBT youth, and that the values that organizations like the Boy Scouts teach — good citizenship, character and teamwork — are just as important for our youth. So why should we give organizations that don’t reflect our values a special exemption? Why should they get special rights?
Unfortunately, because this is a bill related to taxes, we need a two-thirds majority in the California legislature to pass it. Which means that we need every legislator to know that California won’t reward excluding LGBT people. Please take a moment to contact your legislator, either using the letter below or by writing one of your own.
That’s why it’s important to me that you support the Youth Equality Act, authored by Senator Ricardo Lara. His legislation will make sure the cost of discrimination is where it belongs — on the organizations that discriminate based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
We all know that the future of our youth organizations is in embracing diversity and reflecting the modern world that we live in. The Youth Equality Act will encourage organizations like the Boy Scouts to end their harmful policies of exclusion, which are based on the prejudices of the past.