Wednesday, January 28, 2009

California Court Holds Lutheran High School Not Covered By Unruh Act

In Doe v. California Lutheran High School Association, (Cal. App., Jan. 26, 2009), a California state appellate court held that a private religious high school is not a "business enterprise" and therefore is not subject to the Unruh Civil Rights Act. The case involves a sexual orientation discrimination claim brought by two students who were expelled from California Lutheran High School in Wildomar (CA) because of their homosexual relationship. The relationship violated the school's Christian Conduct rule. In concluding that the school is not covered by the state's anti-discrimination law, the court relied on an earlier California Supreme Court decision holding that the Boy Scouts is not a business enterprise covered by the statute. The court also rejected plaintiffs' right to privacy, false imprisonment and unfair business practices claims. Yesterday's Los Angeles Metropolitan News-Enterprise reported on the decision. (See prior related posting.)