Discipline at Christian Schools in Jeopardy?

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More court arguments were heard, Wednesday, in a case that could affect the rights of Christian school officials to discipline students based on Christian beliefs.

The case began in 2005 when parents of two students claimed California Lutheran High School, a private Christian school, discriminated against their daughters based on their sexual orientation.

They filed suit against the school after the teens were expelled for engaging in homosexual conduct, including taking pictures in suggestive poses, which violates the school's code of conduct.

Click play for comments from an attorney representing the school.

On Wednesday, lawyers for the teens argued that the school cannot discriminate because it is a place of public accommodation. But the school says it has a right to discipline according to its religious beliefs.

"Christian schools have the right to make admission and discipline decisions according to their own religious beliefs without government interference," said Timothy J. Tracey, litigation counsel for the Center for Law & Religious Freedom, which is helping defend the school.

In November 2008, an appeals court ruled in favor of CLHS, tentatively denying the parents' discrimination claims. California's Superior Court in Riverside is expected to decide the case in the next several months.

If the school loses the suit, it could be required to adhere to the state's Unruh Civil Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination in public establishments based on "sex, race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, disability, or medical condition."

"They would apply the sexual orientation and non-discrimination provisions of the Unruh Act to religious schools," Casey Mattox, an attorney for the CLHS, told CBN News.

CLHS is a private religious school in Wildomar, Calif.  According to the school's student handbook, both parents and students must agree with its religious beliefs and requirements before admission.

Sources: CBN News, Alliance Defense Fund

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