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Fr. Mark Hodges Fr. Mark Hodges

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Nursing home workers may be jailed for not using transgender pronouns

Fr. Mark Hodges Fr. Mark Hodges

SACRAMENTO, California, August 21, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — If liberal California legislators have their way, calling a transgender man “he” could result in a $1,000 fine and a year in prison.

The “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Long-Term Care Facility Resident’s Bill of Rights,” or Senate Bill 219, will criminalize referring to a transgender nursing home resident by his/her actual gender.

The proposed law, which passed the California senate, states, “It shall be unlawful for a long-term care facility or facility staff to … willfully and repeatedly fail to use a resident’s preferred (transgender) name or (opposite sex) pronouns after being clearly informed of the preferred name or pronouns.”  

The bill also requires nursing homes — whether Christian-owned or not — to accommodate transgender bathrooms and showers.

Penalties are capped at $1,000 and a year in prison. Supporters say the law is justified because nursing homes and long-term care facilities are state regulated and licensed, and “professional-client speech is subject to more government regulation than other speech.”

California Family Council’s Greg Burt testified before the state Judiciary Committee, asking, “How can you believe in free speech, but think the government can compel people to use certain pronouns when talking to others?”

“Compelled speech is not free speech,” he continued. “Those proposing this bill are saying, ‘If you disagree with me about my view of gender, you are discriminating against me.’“

“This is not tolerance. This is not love. This is not mutual respect. True tolerance tolerates people with different views,” Burt concluded. “We need to treat each other with respect, but respect is a two-way street.”

“It is not respectful to threaten people with punishment for having sincerely held beliefs that differ from your own.”

The Judiciary Committee passed the measure unanimously.

The LGBTQI group “Equality California” sponsored the bill, which was written by state Senator Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco.  According to one analysis, the law would apply to nursing homes “and intermediate care facilities.”

Wiener argued that an individual citizen’s sincerely held beliefs did not matter. “The argument that religious views can create an exemption for civil rights laws or complying with civil rights laws is a highly radical notion,” Wiener told the committee.  

He added that people can privately believe what they want but publicly must comply with transgender theory. “Everyone is entitled to their religious view, but when you enter the public space; when you are running an institution, you are in a workplace, you are in a civil setting, and you have to follow the law,” he said.

The legislation is exceptional in that laws on professional-client speech are not usually criminal, but civil matters. It is also more expansive.  

“This proposed statute would on its face extend beyond just speech to the client,” a legislative counsel’s analysis explained. If signed into law, it is expected to eventually be applied to “any employer, landlord, or business or professional.”

The bill defines “gender identity” as “the individual’s stated gender identity, without regard to whether the self-identified gender accords with the individual’s physical appearance, surgical history, genitalia, legal sex, sex assigned at birth, or name and sex as it appears in medical records.”  

It also specifically states that the patient’s wishes are to be followed regardless of what his/her spouse, family, or lawyer may say.

Canada’s Senate passed a similar “transgender rights“ bill, adding “gender expression” and “gender identity” to hate crime laws.

Commentator Mark Steyn told Fox News’ Tucker Carlson that the Canadian law is an “Orwellian assault on the most fundamental language, the language which defines the two sexes.”

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