Kentucky, Governor Matt Bevin has signed bill SB 17 into law, aka the “Charlie Brown Law,” after a Kentucky school cut a bible verse from their production of A Charlie Brown Christmas.
The new law allows student organizations at high schools and colleges—under the guise of expressing religious viewpoints—to discriminate against LGBT students. According to newnownext.com,
SB 17 reads:
“[Education bodies] should ensure that… no recognized religious or political student organization is hindered or discriminated against in the ordering of its internal affairs, selection of leaders and members, defining of doctrines and principles, and resolving of organizational disputes in the furtherance of its mission, or in its determination that only persons committed to its mission should conduct these activities.”
Republican state Representative John Blanton stated “the bill just guarantees students First Amendment rights.”
The confirmation of SB 17 into law comes almost exactly a year after the Kentucky Senate passed another bill that allows businesses to discriminate against LGBT customers on the basis of “religious freedom.”
According to the Washington Blade,
“But the law, which applies to public schools and public post-secondary institutions, also ensures “no recognized religious or political student organization is discriminated against in the ordering of its internal affairs,” allowing religious groups on campus to turn away LGBT students.
Sarah Warbelow, legal director for the Human Rights Campaign, said in a statement the new law jeopardizes non-discrimination policies at public high schools, colleges and universities.
“No student should fear being excluded from a school club or participating in a school activity because they are LGBTQ,” Warbelow added. “While of course private groups should have the freedom to express religious viewpoints, they should not be able to unfairly discriminate with taxpayer funds.”