Wow! In a bold move that, if passed, will certainly provide incentive for groups to embrace equality, California State Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Long Beach) and Equality California, today, announced the introduction of new legislation that would remove a state tax exemption for any youth group, that discriminates against members and leaders on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
And yep, that includes the Boy Scouts.
More after the jump.
Under current California law, organizations that discriminate based on sexual orientation and gender identity may still receive sales and corporate tax exemptions. That provision that is intended to encourage acting in the public interest, but we think that an organization that's actively discriminating against gays only has a certain segment of the public interest in mind.
On the legislation Senator Lara says, “Our state values the important role that youth groups play in the empowerment of our next generation; this is demonstrated by rewarding organizations with tax exemptions supported financially by all Californians. SB 323 seeks to end the unfortunate discriminatory and outdated practices by certain youth groups by revoking their tax exemption privilege should they not comply with our non-discrimination laws.”
John O’Connor, Equality California executive director, continues, “California does not tolerate discrimination, and by removing this exemption, we will make it clear to the Boy Scouts and all other organizations that discrimination has a real cost. We believe this legislation will encourage groups to do the right thing, which is ending their discriminatory policies that unfairly exclude LGBT people.”
As explained by Equality California:
"Some organizations in California, defined similarly to non-profit organizations under federal law, receive exemptions from state corporate taxes and taxes on items they sell. SB 323 would end this exemption for youth groups that continue to discriminate by treating their sales to the same extent as any other retailers. This bill would also require organizations with discriminatory policies to pay corporate taxes on donations and other forms of income.
Existing California law prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in public accommodations and government programs, and this law will end a special exemption for organizations that discriminate on these bases."
Sounds good to us! Make it happen, lawmakers!