I write to you in regards to Senate Bill 1146. Over the past several weeks, I have received emails, phone calls, letters and visits regarding the destructive effects Senate Bill 1146 would have on our higher education system if implemented. Countless parents, students, university faculty, staff and concerned citizens have expressed their frustration and disappointment with the State Senate’s action to approve this measure. I, too, stand in opposition to this measure and will continue to oppose further efforts to undermine religious liberty in our private and independent colleges and universities. Regretfully, this activity started after I voted against this bill, twice; once in committee and again on the Senate Floor.
Senate Bill 1146 goes far beyond the appropriate role of government designed to provide protections against discrimination. In fact, Senate Bill 1146 discriminates against private and independent universities that hold themselves and their student body to a certain moral code that is thousands of years old. Punishing private institutions for adhering to long held codes of conduct consistent with their beliefs is inappropriate and destructive to our education system. This legislation unfairly targets the beliefs of the schools, their students and community. Private universities and colleges which require students and faculty to adhere to moral codes of conduct are applied to all students and faculty equally.
Despite instances of intolerance in California and the United States among multiple classes of people in our history, we are fortunate to have made great strides to ensure safeguards against all discrimination. However, Senate Bill 1146 does not safeguard against discrimination, but rather is a form of discrimination against religious liberty itself. Restricting private institutions from adhering to its religious beliefs is a violation of their First Amendment rights and an act itself of intolerance.
I know from firsthand experience the level of educational excellence private universities can provide, as my oldest son is a graduate of Vanguard University. Like many other private institutions, Vanguard requires their students to adhere to a strict moral code of conduct. Students voluntarily accept this code while enrolled, and the code is applied to each student equally. Senate Bill 1146 strips this culture Vanguard, schools similar to Vanguard, and their students wish to nurture. For these reasons, I cannot support Senate Bill 1146, nor can I support any further infringements on religious liberty.
Very truly yours,
John M. W. Moorlach