Employers in California who disagreed with putting a stamp of approval on abortion and sex outside of marriage can now breathe a sigh of relief. The intent of Assembly Bill 569, which passed the California Legislature with the support of NARAL Pro-Choice of California, was to make it illegal for organizations to regulate their employees’ actions relative to abortion and sex outside of marriage through an employee code of conduct.
But Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed the bill, citing the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) that already prohibits adverse action against employees for “reproductive decisions” but grants an exemption to religious institutions.
California Family Council President Jonathan Keller praised Gov. Brown’s decision. “As the Supreme Court affirmed in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby in 2014, every organization’s religious freedom is protected by the First Amendment. To be faithful to their religious beliefs and core mission, they need the freedom to hire like-minded employees.”
Churches, Christian schools, religious nonprofits, and pro-life organizations in California can now hold their employees to a code of conduct consistent with the organization’s religious beliefs without fear of punishment by the state.
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