Jerry Brown Vetoes a Bill to Curtail Religious Liberty, and the Left Reacts

MARGOT CLEVELAND, NATIONAL REVIEW

The legislature defined ministerial exception narrowly. Supreme Court precedent contradicted it.

A feud between California’s Democratic governor, Jerry Brown, and liberal state legislators and abortion-rights activists has exposed the depth of the extreme Left’s disdain for religious liberty.

The dispute made headlines earlier this week, following Governor Brown’s Sunday-night veto of Assembly Bill 569, which would have made it illegal for a California employer to discipline or fire employees for “their reproductive health decisions, including, but not limited to, the timing thereof, or the use of any drug, device, or medical service.” Dubbed the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Act, or RHNDA, AB-569 expressly covered religiously affiliated institutions and would exempt employees only if they served as “the functional equivalent to a minister.”

In other words, a Catholic hospital could not fire a media-relations director for appearing in a public-interest story on the local news station to discuss her experience with in vitro fertilization. A pro-life crisis-pregnancy center could not fire a counselor for “shouting her abortion” for a Planned Parenthood video. And a private Christian school could not fire a pregnant, unmarried, abstinence-education teacher.