Drew Zahn is a WND news editor who cut his journalist teeth as a member of the award-winning staff of Leadership, Christianity Today's professional journal for church leaders. A former pastor, he is the editor of seven books, including Movie-Based Illustrations for Preaching & Teaching, which sparked his ongoing love affair with film and his weekly WND column, "Popcorn and a (world)view."More ↓Less ↑
Residents of Gainesville, Fla., will now be able to vote whether or not to retain an ordinance the City Council passed earlier this year permitting men who perceived themselves as women to use women’s bathrooms in businesses and public facilities.
As WND reported earlier, the City Council passed the law over significant public objection, adding “gender identity” to the list of categories that cannot be discriminated against, including race, sex, age, and so forth, and then defined “gender identity” to mean “an inner sense of being a specific gender … with or without regard to the individual’s designated sex at birth.”
The ordinance, in effect, mandates that businesses allow people born as men but who feel like they’re really women to use facilities typically reserved for women, including the ladies’ restrooms.
A coalition of opponents to the ordinance, known as Citizens for Good Public Policy, had been circulating a petition drive to place a charter amendment on the March 2009 ballot that would strike the open bathrooms mandate.
Last week, Citizens for Public Policy held a press conference on the steps of Gainesville City Hall to announce that the Supervisor of Elections had validated 6,343 signatures, more than enough to put the ordinance up for a vote.
The Thomas More Law Center, a non-profit public interest law firm that assisted Citizens for Good Public Policy, announced that more registered Gainesville voters signed the petition than voted for mayor in the most recent election.
“The proposed charter amendment will prevent the addition of a multitude of bizarre special rights categories that are being pushed by radical groups with a national agenda,” a Thomas More press release explained. “The amendment will have the effect of invalidating the recently enacted ‘gender identity’ category, which creates awkward and potentially harmful situations for young girls and women.”
Cain Davis, executive director of Citizens for Good Public Policy stated, “The citizens of Gainesville are encouraged about having the opportunity to vote on this issue, which will ensure their laws accurately reflect their beliefs and values.”
Richard Thompson, president of the Thomas More Law Center, stated, “This charter amendment would bring Gainesville’s anti-discrimination laws in line with the state of Florida’s. The concept of ‘gender identity’ was fashioned by radical homosexual organizations and advocates to normalize and protect the bizarre sexual behavior of a few people because they feel more like a woman or a man that what is their actual sex.”
“These radical groups have taken over city councils like Gainesville,” Thompson said.
“The Gender Identity Ordinance’s vagueness invites abuse from sexual offenders and pranksters, as well as confrontation by protective husbands and unwary out-of-town sports fans,” the site states. “That fact, even more than the Commission’s refusal to listen, moved us to mount the petition drive.”
The website further states that the charter amendment now enables the voters of Gainesville to decide whether they will abide by Florida’s civil rights code or whether they will be “bound by a single vote from four elected officials who don’t share most voters’ values or beliefs on this issue.”
“The 6,343 signatures that were validated by the Supervisor of Elections reminds Gainesville’s elected officials that every vote counts, and that they would be wise to consider the majority’s values and opinions before formulating public policy,” the site states.