As the LGBT lobby moves beyond gay marriage into putting boys in girls’ locker rooms, here are four kinds of laws to keep an eye on.
Following the Supreme Court’s decision redefining marriage, LGBT activists shifted their focus to the “T” in LGBT and to eliminating any dissent on marriage. At the federal, state, and local levels, the cultural Left has proposed using government coercion—in the forms of fines, penalties, and regulation—to make all Americans accept a new orthodoxy on sexuality: Boys must be allowed unfettered access to girls’ bathrooms, locker rooms, and shower facilities; bakers must bake same-sex wedding cakes.
Meanwhile, big business and special interest lobbyists have denounced attempts to limit these initiatives. Republican governors such as Mike Pence of Indiana and Dennis Daugaard of South Dakota have caved to media hysterics and cultural cronyism. Pence watered down his state’s religious freedom law; Daugaard vetoed a bill that would have accommodated transgender students, but not allowed boys in girls’ bathrooms.
My recent book, “Truth Overruled: The Future of Marriage and Religious Freedom,” discusses these phenomena in detail. Here are the Cliff’s notes on four types of laws to keep an eye on.
1. Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Laws
These laws have been used to penalize bakers, florists, photographers, and adoption agencies. There is no federal Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) law, and most states and cities don’t have them yet. But LGBT activists are pushing to pass them across the country.
The proposed Equality Act would add “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to more or less every federal civil rights law that protects on the basis of race, expanding them beyond their current reach and explicitly reducing current religious liberty protections. If made law, the Equality Act would have government treat people who believe we are created male and female, and that male and female are created for each other, as if they were racists.
SOGI laws also force schools, businesses, restaurants, and other places open to the public to allow biological males who identify as women into the ladies’ restrooms. This tramples private property rights, which would say whoever owns the bathroom should be able to set the bathroom policies, be they sex-specific, unisex, or something else. Government shouldn’t force owners to grant unfettered bathroom access based on gender identity, regardless of the safety, privacy, or modesty concerns of owners, employees, and patrons.
Thankfully, citizens are pushing back. When the Houston city council voted to impose a municipal SOGI law, Houstonians organized and collected more than enough signatures to put the issue to a vote of the people. In November, 61 percent of voters resoundingly rejected it. And don’t let the media tell you it’s a city of bigots. Houstonians have elected Annise Parker, a lesbian, as mayor three times. But they drew the line at SOGI and won despite threats of boycotts and retaliation from big business (which proved empty).
Earlier this year a proposed sexual orientation bill died in the Indiana statehouse, partly because its supporters couldn’t stop fighting over the specifics. Gender identity wasn’t specifically included in the bill, SB 344, which made the LGBT lobby unhappy. Moreover, in a bid to broaden support, the bill’s authors tacked on limited religious exemptions as a “compromise.” The prospect of any religious exemptions upset many in the LGBT lobby. In their view, no one should be free to follow his beliefs about marriage in public life if it violates LGBT dogma.
SOGI laws increase cultural tensions, further empower an already powerful special-interest lobby, and impose unjustly on people of many different faiths. At the end of the day, they are both unnecessary and a threat to religious freedom.
2. Bathroom Privacy and Accommodation Laws
SOGI laws are the problem. But what are some of the solutions? One answer is to protect privacy at the bathroom and accommodate transgender students. But LGBT activists don’t like this at all.
Their official policy is that boys who identify as girls should have unfettered access to girls’ bathrooms, locker rooms, and shower facilities. Anything less than full access to the bathroom and locker room of their choice is, they say, a transphobic denial of civil rights and equality. This extreme position is out of step with the majority of Americans, and utterly inconsiderate of the concerns of the non-transgendered community.
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