The California State Assembly will consider making it illegal to refer to a transgender person by the “wrong” pronouns, in a long-term elder care facility. The proposed bill would require elder care facilities and their workers to use specific words, or be penalized with up to a $1,000 fine and a maximum of one year in jail. The bill has no provision exempting faith-based facilities.
The bill, S.B. 219, known as the “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Long-Term Care Facility Resident’s Bill of Rights,” stipulates that “it shall be unlawful for a long-term care facility or facility staff to … willfully and repeatedly fail to use a resident’s preferred name or pronouns after being clearly informed of the preferred name or pronouns.”
S.B. 219 will also mandate bathrooms and room situations be designated by gender identity rather than biological sex, that restrictions on sexual intercourse be applied without discrimination, and that crossdressers will be allowed to dress as the opposite sex.
The bill would impose fines and jail-time on any employee who refuses to use transgender pronouns, going as high as $1,000 and a jail term for up to a year. A similar bill passed in Canada last month.
“This is not tolerance. This is not love, and this is not mutual respect,” Greg Burt, director of capitol engagement at the California Family Council, testified in a statement against the bill. “People have sincerely held religious views about gender that are not based on malice or hatred. But this bill seeks to make their view of gender illegal.”
Burt insisted that “no one deserves to be harassed, or mocked, or kicked out of a residential facility for identifying themselves as transgendered, so we don’t have a problem with that part of the bill. What we do have a problem with is making it illegal to hold to a particular view of gender.”
Not all Americans agree with the idea that someone experiencing “gender dysphoria,” the long-term, persistent condition of feeling like a member of the opposite sex, should be encouraged to “transition,” to identify with the opposite sex. This transgender ideology states that a person’s biological sex does not determine their gender, and even encourages costly and irreversible surgery to change their sexual organs.
“There are two competing views of gender here,” Burt noted. “One view says that gender is determined by biology. The new view … is that gender is a matter of personal choice. These are two strongly-held views.”
Burt, speaking as the representative of a Christian organization, seemed to believe the traditional view of gender being determined by biological sex. Even so, he suggested the importance of Americans having the freedom to hold to either view.
“Living in a free country as we do, those who have these opposing views need to find a way to live with each other, to tolerate the existence of each other without using the government to punish those on the opposing side,” the California Family Council director said.
“This bill says if a private organization determines gender in the traditional way, by biology, and that belief is reflected in the way they separate the genders in rooms and bathrooms, then the state will run you out of business,” he explained.
Chillingly, Burt asked, “How can you believe in free speech, if you think the government can compel people to use certain pronouns when talking to others, as this bill proposes? Compelled speech is not free speech!”
“If you can do this with senior facilities, are you planning to mandate the use of these pronouns for the entire population? The public deserves to know,” he concluded. “I respectfully ask that this bill be amended to respect those who sincerely believe gender is based on biology. Thank you.”
Burt focused on belief, but this is also a matter of free speech. Americans should be able to speak their minds, whether their ideas are based on religion or not. Many atheists, agnostics, or skeptics might also agree that gender should be based on biology.
In an interview with PJ Media last year, Christian author Eric Metaxas warned that by legislating on some deep LGBT issues like identity, government effectively establishes a religion. Bills like S.B. 219 would use the government to silence any opposition to transgender identity, whatever the cause.
Increasingly, the Left has been stigmatizing anyone who disagrees with the LGBT agenda as a “bigot,” a “hate group,” or even “the wicked.”
The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has branded many Christian nonprofits “hate groups” because they disagree with transgender identity and the celebration of homosexual activity. Even CNN and Apple have recently teamed up to promote the SPLC’s attempts to silence these groups.
In a recent interview, LGBT megadonor Tim Gill explained why he and his movement set out to penalize Christians who choose to opt out of providing specific services to same-sex weddings. Gill said, “We’re going to punish the wicked.” Across the country, bakers like Jack Phillips (whose case will go to the Supreme Court) have gladly served LGBT people in other settings, but refused to offer their services to a same-sex wedding. Gill and others would silence them by slandering their expression as “discrimination.”
Other groups have also targeted specific faith-based institutions. One LGBT group in Ohio released plans to target churches, forcing them to host same-sex weddings. In May, the ACLU sued a Roman Catholic hospital for refusing to perform a hysterectomy on a woman who identified as a man.
Worst of all, in September of last year, a Massachusetts “guidance” effectively ordered churches to embrace transgender ideology by referring to transgender people by their preferred pronouns. This policy was reversed after churches sued the state for their free speech, but the precedent is terrifying.
Watch Greg Burt’s speech below.