California's governor shot down a bill that would have prevented faith-based organizations from enforcing their own ethical codes and standards.
Many religious organizations ask new employees to sign a code of conduct that aligns with what the Bible says about abortion, contraception, and sex outside of marriage. However, Assembly Bill 569 calls these provisions discriminatory and says they should be banned.
However, in a surprise move, Governor Jerry Brown vetoed the bill.
The Pacific Justice Institute, a conservative legal defense organization, strongly opposed the bill and was prepared to file several lawsuits with multiple plaintiffs, had it been signed.
"We are relieved that Gov. Brown chose not to extend choking state prohibitions into sacrosanct areas of religious life and ministry," Brad Dacus, the president of the institute said. "It is essential that churches, ministries, and religious schools continue to have the freedom to expect employees to practice what is preached."
"This bill would have required—with heavy fines and even criminal penalties—religious institutions to tolerate employee behavior directly contradicting the organizational mission," he explained. "This bill was deeply unconstitutional, and we are thankful it has been vetoed."
However, Dacus says churches and ministries aren't out of the woods yet.
He warned that a majority of California lawmakers voted in favor of the bill and could try to resurrect it, especially when a new governor is elected.
It is also expected that copycat legislation will be proposed in other deep blue states.