Homosexual activists are demanding cities across Kansas add sexual orientation and "gender identity" to their protected classes, a move attorneys warn could hit even churches and other faith-based groups.
The "coed shower" plans have been around for several years, with the infamous battle in Montgomery County, Md., several years ago in which officials adopted special provisions for those who choose an alternative sexual lifestyle then manipulated election rules so that voters were not allowed to express their opinion on the law at the ballot box.
Word on the latest effort comes from Liberty Counsel Action, which says Kansas is the "latest battleground" over "granting special rights to homosexuals and cross-dressers."
"Human Relations Commissions and/or homosexual activist groups in Lawrence, Hutchinson, Salina, Wichita and Pittsburg have asked their respective city councils to add 'sexual orientation' and 'gender identity' to protected classes," Liberty Counsel Action reported.
Lawrence passed the ordinance and the Hutchinson city council will vote May 1, the group said.
The organization noted, "If the Hutchinson city measure passes, places of worship that rent out to the general public would be required to rent out their building for homosexual marriages or drag queen parties."
Specifically, Hutchinson's proposal provides that "religious based groups, non-profit institutions controlled by religious associations or societies and non-profit private clubs that are not open to the public are exempt…. [but not] if any of these groups open their services to the general public."
Under the recommended changes, an employer, landlord or business owner would be deprived of the ability to make decisions based on his or her own religious faith. People would be allowed to choose a restroom or shower based on their "gender identity," which may or may not be linked to their "birth sex."
The proposal states "not allowing individuals to use a restroom or other gender-segregated facility consistent with their gender identity or gender expression" would be "discriminatory conduct."
If a female is uncomfortable with the idea of a man dressed as a woman sharing the restroom or locker room facilities, business owners and others are encouraged to offer "the use of a private restroom to a member of the public, or encouraging that individual to wait until the other person has left the restroom."
But such tolerances would go only so far, the agenda assembled by homosexual activists stated: "Remember, however, that it would be illegal to require a transgender person to use a gender-neutral restroom facility, or to require a transgender person to use restrooms appropriate to their gender identity only when others are not present."
Mathew Staver, chairman of Liberty Counsel Action, argued that all rational Americans are against discrimination, but making "gender identity" a civil right, comparable to a disability or a skin color, just creates more bias.
"The federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 laid the foundation for future civil rights laws," he said. "Homosexual activists are attempting to hijack the civil rights train by claiming that homosexual behavior deserves the same special protection granted to racial and gender minorities."
Staver contended that if "gender identity" laws become commonplace, "then any person who speaks against deviant sexual practices will be vilified, their rights will be thwarted, and their freedom of religion and of conscience will be crushed."
He noted the issue has created such a stir that the state legislature has begun looking at protecting the rights of business owners, landlords and churches. A plan that already has passed the House would require all nondiscrimination laws to align with existing state law, which does not provide for special homosexual rights.
Hutchinson's proposal notes that employers could enforce dress codes, but the employee must be allowed to choose whether he or she would dress as a man or a woman.
And those "coed showers" in public accommodations?
"Individuals who are … uncomfortable with sharing locker or shower facilities with a transgender person should be accommodated by allowing those individuals to shower or change at a time when they will be able to use the facility in private," the Hutchinson plan states.
WND reported recently that a New York legal team has sued an American evangelist over his biblically based religious belief that homosexuality is a sin.
"I am an American citizen [being targeted] over the persecution of homosexuals as they define it as a crime against humanity – for speaking the truth of the Bible in a foreign country," Scott Lively of Abiding Truth Ministries told WND after he found out about the legal action.
He said the definition of "crime against humanity" comes from European progressives, and the accusations appear to be based on his speeches and writings about the Bible's teaching on homosexuality.
The lawsuit, signed by attorney Luke Ryan and Pamela Spees, whose admission to the court for the purpose of the lawsuit is pending, demands compensatory damages, punitive damages, exemplary damages, attorneys' fees and a ruling that Lively's conduct "was in violation of the law of nations."
Spees is with the Center for Constitutional Rights in New York.
The case was filed on behalf of the "Sexual Minorities Uganda," or SMUG, alleging Lively has "waged, in coordination with his Ugandan counterparts," a campaign "to persecute persons on the basis of their gender and/or sexual orientation and gender identity."
It says "persecution is defined in international law as the 'intentional and severe deprivation of fundamental rights contrary to international law by reason of the identity of the group or collectivity.'"
The New York lawyers claim Lively contributed to a "conspiracy to persecute LGBTT persons in Uganda."
WND also reported that the council for Baltimore County, Md., was working on a plan that would prevent "discrimination" cases that primarily involve men who dress as women and portray themselves as being female.
Bill 3-12 in Baltimore County, introduced and sponsored by four of the seven council members, takes aim at preventing discrimination against a person on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression.
According to the bill, "gender identity or expression means a gender-related identity or appearance of an individual regardless of the individual's assigned sex at birth."
Ruth Jacobs, president of Maryland Citizens for a Responsible Government, which maintains detailed information on the issue at notmyshower.com, says the bill's definition amounts to "gender identity theft."
"Many people believe that transgender people have had surgery to change their sex, but in most cases they haven't," she told WND. "I call them a fake female."
According to the MCRG website, such bills "legally protect cross-dressers and transvestite behavior by forbidding discrimination against men who self-identify as women."
"This dangerous Peeping Tom bill will allow cross-dressing men to enter women's bathrooms and dressing rooms even if they are sexually attracted to women."
MCRG says that a similar bill in the city of Baltimore at least has exemptions for "religious, educational and toilet facility settings," but the Baltimore County bill it has dubbed the "Dangerous Peeping Tom Law" does not.
MCRG noted that since Montgomery County, Md., adopted the change several years ago, women have been raped in the restrooms at Montgomery Community College, Asbury nursing home, Pelican restaurant and the Bethesda Hyatt.
"Women are easily victimized and ladies' bathrooms can be risky places when men have access," Jacobs noted.
She also pointed out the outrage when a 48-year-old man went into a women's locker room and was changing his clothes with little girls present.
When Montgomery county adopted its law, a petition drive to put the issue to voters fell short when Maryland's highest court allowed officials to raise the required number of petition signatures for a ballot issue – after the deadline for submitting names had passed – from 25,001 to 27,001.