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Fr. Mark Hodges Fr. Mark Hodges

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California law jails nursing home employees who ‘mis-gender’ residents

Fr. Mark Hodges Fr. Mark Hodges

SACRAMENTO, California, October 11, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — California nursing facility employees could go to jail for referring to patients by their biological gender.

Democratic state Senator Scott Wiener authored the “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Long-Term Care Facility Resident’s Bill of Rights” that punishes healthcare workers who refer to elderly transgenders by their true sex “willfully and repeatedly.” Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown signed the bill last week.  

Violating transgender-chosen pronouns is punishable by up to a $1,000 fine plus one year in jail.

The new pro-LGBTQI law codifies that nurses and others must use transgender patients’ self-selected name and pronoun, such as “Zir” and “Ze.” It also requires facilities to allow trans men to use women’s bathrooms, and vice versa.

“How can you believe in free speech, but think the government can compel people to use certain pronouns when talking to others?” Greg Burt of California Family Council argued before the state Judiciary Committee. “Compelled speech is not free speech.”

Burt surmised that the First Amendment prohibits forced or coerced speech or thought. He illustrated his point by using the free press and gender non-conforming words such as “Zir” as an example.  

“Can the government compel a newspaper to use certain pronouns that aren’t even in the dictionary?” he rhetorically asked. “Of course not — or is that coming next?”

The law states that after staff are “clearly informed of the preferred name or pronouns,” it is now illegal to “willfully and repeatedly” fail to use those preferred names and pronouns. The legislators consider doing so to be an act of discrimination against a patient’s “actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression.”

“Those proposing this bill are saying, ‘If you disagree with me about my view of gender, you are discriminating against me,’” Burt continued. “This is not tolerance ... This is not mutual respect.”

“Respect is a two-way street,” Burt concluded. “It is not respectful to threaten people with punishment for having sincerely held beliefs that differ from your own. ... True tolerance tolerates people with different views.”

The new state law applies to all publicly funded hospitals, retirement homes, assisted living facilities, and long-term care facilities. LGBTQI group Equality California lobbied for it.

Ironically, after championing the law with its imprisonment provision intact, Weiner assured critics that no one would be put in jail for breaking the LGBTQI law. His office told Fox News that criminal penalties are only for violations that pose a serious threat to the life or health of patients.

Nevertheless, the jail time and fine was made state law on October 4.

Significantly, the law makes no mention of exempting Christian retirement homes or any religious care facilities. Regardless of their sincerely held beliefs, everyone must comply by using transgender pronouns or face significant jail time and fines.

In a National Review column titled “California Threatens Jail Time for Dissenters from the New Transgender Dogma,” Elliot Kaufman commented, “California is on its way to creating a whole new class of criminals: citizens who use ‘him’ to refer to a man and ‘her’ for a woman.”

Kaufman wrote that the new statute, which “impose(s) left-wing dogma by force of law,” will spread from nursing homes to all of commerce and society. “There is no reason for it to stop there. According to First Amendment scholar Eugene Volokh, it is ‘pretty unlikely that, if this law is enacted, such prohibitions would be limited just (nursing homes).’”

“The focus on nursing homes,” Kaufman speculated, “was chosen not because there is an epidemic of elderly transgender people being ‘misgendered’ by their caretakers, but simply because the elderly make for a particularly sympathetic test case.”

The Daily Wire’s Amanda Prestigiacomo pointed out that such jail-enforced speech control is already in effect to the north. “In Canada, such Orwellian measures are already in place,” she noted. “If you refuse to use (‘gender identity’) pronouns ... you could be found guilty of a ‘Hate Crime’ and face massive fines and possible jail time.”

Prestigiacomo also illustrated New York City, where “thanks to Comrade de Blasio, citizens are opened up to massive fines if they do not use an individual’s pronouns of choice.”

Weiner “has made his intentions clear,” Kaufman stated, quoting the Democratic state senator. “He wants to put the religious in their place. ... Wiener will let you be a Jew or Christian in your own home, but as soon as you step out, you ‘enter in the public space’ — and there, he believes, there can be no Jews or Christians.”

“The Christian life cannot be compartmentalized and set aside from 9 to 5, or in public locations, as secularists wish,” Kaufman concluded. “Rather, when Christians bring their faith into the public arena, all citizens are enriched.”

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