California Court Rules that Private School can Expel Students on Basis of Sexual Orientation

The 4th District Court of Appeals ruled that a private California high school legally expelled two students in 2005 based on suspicions that the students were lesbians. Kirk Hanson, the students’ attorney, told the San Francisco Chronicle that his clients may consider a Supreme Court appeal on the ruling (see PDF).

The ruling argues that although the California Lutheran High School accepts tuition, “it is not a business establishment within the meaning of the Unruh Act; hence it [can] legally discriminate based on perceived sexual orientation.” The ruling relied heavily on a 1998 CA Supreme Court ruling that allows the Boy Scouts of America to legally exclude individuals on the basis of sexual orientation because the Boy Scouts are “not a business establishment within the meaning of the Unruh Civil Rights Act.”

Hanson told the Desert Sun that “basically, this decision gives private schools the license to discriminate.”


San Francisco Chronicle, 01/28/09; Associated Press, 01/27/09; Desert Sun, 01/28/09

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