First, an update on SB 1146. The law has been amended in the following ways, making it worse.
--It now is absolutely explicit that it applies not only to student admissions but also to hiring.
--The law is explicit that "transgender" students would have to be accommodated in the facilities of their "gender identity."
--The law is now clear that homosexual "married" couples would have to be accommodated in married student housing, if such is offered.
The law has evidently had some cosmetic changes made to it which I hope will not induce any schools to compromise or withdraw their opposition.
--It permits schools that accept state funds (via their students) to require "mandatory religious practices," presumably such things as going to chapel. This is apparently a softening of the stance on prohibiting "religious discrimination."
--It permits such schools to enforce "moral codes," as long as these are applied universally without regard to a student's claim to sexual orientation or gender identity. So what does this mean? It means that as a Christian school you can't have a "moral code" that bans specifically homosexual practice, though you can require students to confine homosexual practice to pseudo-marriage. Wow, I'm so impressed!
The National Catholic Register rightly sees that this should mean that any faithful religious school (naturally, the NCR is applying it specifically to Catholic schools) will have to forego state funds if this law passes the Assembly and is signed.
An update on the Iowa Commission that would like to control the activities of churches:
The commission, in response to lawsuits, has changed the language of its brochure as to how non-discrimination law concerning "sexual orientation and gender identity" applies to churches. The previous wording, which sparked the suits, was,
Where qualifications are not related to a bona fide religious purpose, churches are still subject to the law’s provisions. (e.g. a child care facility operated at a church or a church service open to the public)...
The new wording at that point reads,
Places of worship (e.g. churches, synagogues, mosques, etc.) are generally exempt from the Iowa law’s prohibition of discrimination, unless the place of worship engages in non-religious activities which are open to the public. For example, the law may apply to an independent day care or polling place located on the premises of the place of worship.
So what does this mean? Well, presumably, nobody's going to know for sure what it means until we either see how it's applied or until it's hashed out in court. Apparently the Commission is trying to do something like what I suggested in this comment they might try to do. They are trying to define what they think of as "secular" activities located on church grounds and then apply all the heavy-handed force of the law concerning "sexual orientation and gender identity" to the facilities insofar as they are used for those purposes. One example in the new wording is an independent daycare located on the premises of a place of worship. What's an independent daycare? What does that even mean? I'm guessing that the person who wrote it was thinking of a situation where the religious facilities are rented by a non-religious organization to run a daycare. I don't even know for sure if that happens, but it might well happen. Many church facilities are rather desirable venues, when you stop to think about it, for many things, and one can well imagine that a church might try to bring in some extra income by renting the church building to some non-church entity for all kinds of things, including a daycare, some of which would be open to the public. (Note, too, that even if the event isn't open to the public, conservative legal geeks have been worried for a long time about possible "discrimination" in renting a church facility to private parties of non-members for weddings. If your church brings in some extra income in that way, are you "discriminating" against non-member "weddings" that are same-sex?)
I know for a fact that houses of worship are often used by local governments as polling places. I've been voting in a Christian Reformed Church for something on the order of a decade or more. Presumably, again, this would be a way of making extra income for the church. And, y'know, "trans" people sometimes have to go to the bathroom when waiting in a voting line, and they shouldn't be made to feel uncomfortable on election day, blah, blah.
But can one count on the Commission only to apply these regulations in a restricted circumstance only when the facilities are being rented or used by some non-religious organization, corporation, or government body? Despite the word "independent" before "daycare," I'd say that's still not clear from the brochure, since that's only an example. The previous sentence envisages a situation where the "place of worship engages in non-religious activities which are open to the public." On the face of it, that sounds like it could apply to activities that are ministries of the church itself, including a non-independent daycare (a daycare run by the church), a non-independent church school, a church-run summer camp, and so forth.
Maybe the actual person who wrote the new language wasn't thinking about that. In all honesty, I think the Commission is flying by the seat of their pants. I think they are being sloppy. They clearly want to control "discrimination" in relation to some uses of church property, and in my opinion they want to make it up as they go along. It's impossible for them to be precise, partly because they don't really care all that much about being precise, but partly because they really think churches need to be controlled, dangit!, when interacting with anybody outside of their own group of insider members, and they are going to try to see how they can do that without running too blatantly afoul of the First Amendment.
The Alliance Defending Freedom is having none of it, because as they point out this still means that the Commission is arrogating to itself the right to decide what count as non-religious activities, a bona fide religious purpose, and the like.
We will have to see how this all plays out, and I say again, kudos to the ADF.