A Christian high school in California can expel or exclude students based on their sexual orientation, an appeals court has ruled.

California Lutheran High School in Wildomar argued that as a private organisation it had a right to do so.

The Fourth District Court of Appeal agreed, saying schools are not the same as businesses and cannot be bound by the same laws.

Two girls sued the school in 2005 after they were expelled.

Four years ago a 14-year-old girl was expelled from a Christian school in Ontario, California because her parents are lesbians.

Superintendent Leonard Stob wrote to Tina Clark, the girl’s biological mother stating that school policy requires that at least one parent may not engage in practices “immoral or inconsistent with a positive Christian life style, such as cohabitating without marriage or in a homosexual relationship.”