Monday, January 21, 2008

Judge upholds religious schools rights to expel alleged teen lesbians

San Francisco – A Riverside County judge found no legal basis for a lawsuit against a Christian school brought on the behalf of two girls who were kicked out of school for an alleged lesbian relationship.

Judge Gloria Trask found the girls' discrimination lawsuit had no legal basis under California's anti-discrimination laws January 11, reported the San Diego Union Tribune and the San Jose Mercury News January 19.

The attorneys for the two unnamed girls attempted to apply California’s anti-discrimination sexual orientation laws in business settings to the religious school, but Trask disagreed with them, reported the local the Tribune.

John McKay, attorney for the California Lutheran High School in Wildomar, “applauded the decision, and said the religious school has a right to expel sinners.”

“You can't infringe upon the basic rights of a religious group and their right of association by forcing them to accept people who don't believe in their values,” McKay told the Tribune.

The girls and their parents sued the California Lutheran High School in Wildomar after their 2005 expulsion when the school suspected the then 11th-graders were having a relationship, reported the Mercury.

The school’s code of conduct, according to the Mercury, that “students can be removed for behavior that contradicts ‘Christian values.’"

“We are confidant that things will continue to proceed according to the Lord's plan,” said, Steve Rosenbaum, the school’s principal, who told the Tribune “he was pleased with the ruling.”

The girls’ attorneys couldn’t be reached for comment, reported the Tribune. McKay told the paper that he expects them to appeal the decision to an appellate court.

Under the California constitution, reported the paper, the ruling in Superior Court does not settle the same issue in other courtrooms, but an appeals court ruling would apply across the appellate court's jurisdiction area and would influence cases all across the state.

What do you think? Do you think the school is providing a public service or because it's private has the right to accept or deny any paying parent or student they want to? Or, should the girl's appeal now that the anti-discrimination code that includes sexual orientation and gender is in the educational code?

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