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Tax-exempt status of some groups at risk in California

Legislators in California are considering revoking the tax-exempt status from a number of groups, such as the Boy Scouts and different little league sports, if they discriminate when choosing members. The bill, SB 323, stops any of the nonprofit youth groups from receiving exemptions that demonstrate sexual-orientation discrimination or discrimination based on race, nationality or religion. The bill seems to be focused on the Boy Scouts in light of the controversy regarding the group's restrictions on letting gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people become members or leaders. While the national organization later decided to admit gay members, they continued to ban any leaders who were openly homosexual. A Democratic state senator was upset by their decision and decided to introduce and push the legislation.

Other groups that focus on offering services to young people hope the bill won't impact them. A representative for Little League International said the group already has a non-discrimination policy. All local organizations that affiliate themselves with Little League must follow this guideline. A representative for the Girl Scouts echoed the policies of Little League and emphasized that the group values diversity and does not discriminate.

The bill listed more than 20 groups that could be impacted by the new law. The Democrat observed that the state wants to offer tax-exempt status to organizations that help everyone in the state. He introduced the bill in order to stop what he calls outdated practices of discrimination by some groups. The bill passed by a two-thirds majority in the Senate in June, an unprecedented vote for LGBT-focused legislation.

With the new laws that California is considering, a listed group could risk the loss of their tax-exempt status if they are accused of discrimination. An employment attorney might be able to help clients who feel they were wrongfully accused of discrimination and as a result have been revoked of their tax exemptions.

Source: FOX News, "California pols could target tax status of Boy Scouts, youth groups over 'discrimination' ", Joshua Rhett Miller, August 28, 2013

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