SAN FRANCISCO - California lawmakers are considering making the Boy Scouts of America and other youth groups that do not accept gay, transgender or atheist members and leaders ineligible for some state tax exemptions.
Some cities have withdrawn free rent and other subsidies from the Boy Scouts over the years, but legislation introduced by state Sen. Ricardo Lara would make California the first state to punish the Scouts for its policy prohibiting gay members and troop leaders.
"This is only saying that if you choose to discriminate and discriminate against LBGT adults and youth, you should not get the tax exemption," Lara said.
The bill by the Long Beach Democrat is scheduled for an initial committee hearing on Wednesday.
The legislation would deny tax-exempt status to nonprofit youth groups that discriminate on the basis of gender identity, race, sexual orientation, nationality, religion or religious affiliation.
Opponents of the measure maintain the move is the result of special social agendas pushed by legislators at the capitol.
"I don't think we need to be socially judgemental on those groups, just like we try not to judge other social groups and the way they do things, religious groups," Assem. Curt Hagman, D - Chino Hills, said.
"This bill, for the record, does not affect youth groups associated with churches," Lara pointed out.
The Legislative Analyst's Office said the bill would mandate that the Boy Scouts and its California affiliates would have to pay corporate taxes on donations and income from fees.
The Associated Press and News10/KXTV