Sacramento, CA--In a surprise move welcomed by religious liberty advocates, it was announced late last night that Gov. Jerry Brown has vetoed Assembly Bill (AB) 569. The bill would have greatly restricted the ability of religious institutions to hire and retain employees consistent with teachings on the sanctity of life. Pacific Justice Institute had strongly opposed the bill and was prepared to file suit with multiple plaintiffs, had it been signed. Brad Dacus, the president of Pacific Justice Institute, commented, “We are relieved that Gov. Brown chose not to extend choking state prohibitions into sacrosanct areas of religious life and ministry. It is essential that churches, ministries, and religious schools continue to have the freedom to expect employees to practice what is preached. This bill would have required—with heavy fines and even criminal penalties—religious institutions to tolerate employee behavior directly contradicting the organizational mission. This bill was deeply unconstitutional, and we are thankful it has been vetoed.”
Dacus further warned churches and ministries that, since a sizable majority of legislators voted in favor of AB 569, it could easily be resurrected, especially once a new Governor is elected next year. It is also expected that copycat legislation will be proposed in other deep blue states.