California lawmakers are cruising toward a final vote on a bill that could threaten the tax-exempt status of American-as-apple-pie groups — ranging from the Boy Scouts to Little League — if their membership policies are found to be discriminatory.
If passed, the bill, SB 323, would remove an exemption from state taxes for any nonprofit youth group that discriminates on the basis of “gender identity, race, sexual orientation, nationality, religion, or religious affiliation.” Well-known organizations like Girl Scouts of the USA, Boy Scouts of America, and Little League International Baseball and Softball were cited in the bill, which was introduced in February by Democratic state Sen. Ricardo Lara.
Lawmakers are not accusing groups like Little League and the Girl Scouts of having discriminatory policies. The bill appears to be aimed more at the Boy Scouts, as Lara pushed the legislation on the heels of the controversy surrounding the Boy Scouts’ policy to exclude gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people as scouts or adult leaders. The national organization later voted to allow gay youth membership, but maintained its ban on openly gay adult leaders.