Officials in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, a regional center for the agricultural, manufacturing and tech industries, have dropped cold a plan to add transgender protection to their city code after being informed of its likely consequences.
The potential problems include requiring churches to hire without regard to “sexual identity” in violation of their doctrine, allowing daycare and kindergarten teachers to openly cross-dress for their classes “with no recourse” for parents and requiring that women’s shelters provide a bed to any man claiming to be a woman.
The city officials dropped the proposal to add “gender identity” to a list of protected classes such as race, color and age after being presented with a letter from Liberty Counsel.
“First, as you know, ‘sexual orientation’ and ‘sexual identity’ … are not protected classes under South Dakota state law or United States federal law,” the letter said.
“Moreover, in South Dakota, there is no data showing ‘discrimination’ on these additional proposed grounds is occurring in the city of Sioux Falls, nor of the necessity of this proposal. Adding these, however, to legitimate protected classes like race, sex or religion is improper. ‘Religion’ is a fundamental right, and is enumerated in the U.S. Constitution. The color of one’s skin is a genetic unchangeable. Natural biological sex and sexual organs are genetic unchangeables, and are determined at the chromosomal level.”
“Sexual orientation” and “gender identity” are neither fundamental rights nor fixed, objective categories, the letter from Liberty Counsel said.
“They are subjective and fluid in natures; studies and the experience of many show that they are subject to spontaneous change; and they are caused by a number of background, developmental, and exposure factors.”
The proposal is one of many that coincide with the White House’s effort to open public facilities according to gender “identity” rather than biology, including an order earlier this month to public schools.
The letter cited the work of Dr. Paul McHugh, former chief psychiatrist at Johns Hopkins Hospital, who said “when children who reported transgender feelings were tracked without medical or surgical treatment at both Vanderbilt University and London’s Portman Clinic, over 70 percent to 80 percent of them spontaneously lost those feelings.”
The Sioux Falls council already had heard the proposal in a second reading in May and was scheduled to consider it yet again in June.
But officials said the plan was pulled off the agenda because of the concerns that were being raised.
Liberty Counsel pointed out first that the law contained no definitions of “sexual orientation” or “sexual identity,” leaving it subject to challenge for vagueness under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
It simply doesn’t provide “sufficient definiteness that ordinary people can understand what conduct is prohibited and in a manner that does not encourage arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement,” the letter warned.
It also would create a huge conflict with religious groups and organizations, since it would not exempt churches from its mandates in many circumstances.
They would be exempt “only with respect to the ‘religious qualifications for employment or residence in church-owned or church-operated property’,” the letter said. “It is unconstitutional for the city to apply this coverage to churches, religious schools and religious organizations.”
Further, the law would apply to schools, daycares and other institutions, and “would require them to allow teachers or staff to openly cross-dress in front of children.”
“This will confuse the children’s concept of gender, or appropriate behavior and dress, with no recourse by the parents or the schools, daycares, or kindergartens,” the letter said.
Then there is the issue that has evoked horror across the nation – the access to women’s showers, restrooms and locker rooms by men.
“The ordinance would … allow men to enter all such places otherwise reserved for women and girls, so long as they simply claim a female identity (whether sincere or not).
“The ordinance would require any women’s shelter in Sioux Falls to admit any man claiming to be ‘transgender,’ simply upon that man’s own word. Under a similar law, in Toronto, Canada, Christopher Hambrook was admitted to two different women’s shelters because he claimed to be a woman, and called himself ‘Jessica.’ In February 2012, one of his victims went to bed, and awoke to find Hambrook assaulting her. ‘Her tights had been pulled down past her bottom and her bathing suit had been pulled to the side,’ court documents reveal. ‘She yelled at [Hambrook], demanding to know what he wsa doing. He simply covered his face with his hands, said ‘ooops!’ and started giggling.’ In a second incident, he stalked a deaf and homeless woman living in the shelter.”
LC already has compiled a list of bathroom attacks against women and girls by men.
“The city has an obligation to protect women and girls from men invading private areas. … The city should not infringe upon the religious liberties of private businesses, churches and religious organizations. … The city should not override the rights of parents of students in schools to shield their children from gender confusion or inappropriate expressions of sexuality,” Liberty Counsel said. ”The HRO should be rejected.”
Staver told WND the city’s subsequent decision was encouraging, but he said his organization is continuing to monitor, should the proposal come up again.
“I think it gives good encouragement to people who want to be able to make a difference,” he said.