Lawmakers rarely seem inclined to take the Law of Unintended Consequences seriously. Results matter, not intentions.
In Oregon, a new law was passed intended to protect the privacy of transgender people. The law allows a person’s birth name to be hidden from the public following a legal name change: if Steve becomes Stephanie, Stephanie can keep authorities from letting anyone know about Steve.
As Hot Air’s Jazz Shaw points out, the trans community won’t be the only beneficiaries of this law:
Many people might be interested in knowing if the name you give them isn’t the one you used previously. An employer considering hiring John Doe as his accountant would likely be very keen to know if John used to be Billy Bob Roe who served time for embezzlement.
If a mother’s deadbeat former husband has disappeared owing tens of thousands in alimony she’d probably like to be able to Google for any news of him. That becomes significantly harder if he’s living under a new name.
And when “Randy Jones” moves into your neighborhood you might prefer to be clued in if Randy used to be James Docksnooker and is on the registered sex offender list.
To be sure, people hiding from stalkers and dangerous exes, or people who might not want employers to know Dad was, say, Charles Manson, could also exploit this Oregon law for a non-troubling reason.
But this law could easily be exploited to shield people that few would want to enjoy such “protections” — so that’s exactly what will happen.
Somewhere in America, someone is heading to Oregon to hide from a past that other Americans don’t want to be hidden. Inventing a new identity is extremely difficult because it is extremely dangerous to the public, and plenty of dangerous people desperately want a new identity. If an easier way appears, they will find that easier way.
Yet again, it sounds like a Leftist law was passed based on feelings rather than outcomes.