Kirsten Andersen


Transgender bathroom laws an assault on freedom, expert says

Kirsten Andersen
Kirsten Andersen

MONTCLAIR, CA, November 15, 2013 ( – A Los Angeles-area gym is under fire for a transsexual’s claim that he was asked to stop using the women’s locker room after revealing his past life as a man to his personal trainer.

Yanel Valenzuela, 29, told KCAL-9 Los Angeles that a female manager at the Montclair location of the LA Fitness gym chain told him he was no longer welcome to use the women’s changing and restroom area after he confessed to a personal trainer that he had been born a man, but had surgery to remove his male sex organs and replace them with female facsimiles.

According to Valenzuela, he told the trainer his secret because he wanted fitness advice targeted toward his unusual situation. But he claims a manager took him aside later and told him he couldn’t use the women’s locker room anymore.

“I felt hurt because I don’t understand why she did it. She had no reason. She had no complaints from anyone,” Valenzuela told KCAL. He said he showed the manager his California driver’s license, which he had changed to say he is a female, along with a letter from his doctor confirming he’d had the sex-change operation.

Valenzuela insists the manager’s request amounted to disrespect and harassment. “It gave me emotional stress,” he told KCAL. “I don’t think it was fair.” He said he went to the press about the incident to force the manager to think twice before denying anyone else access to the restroom or changing facilities of their choice.

“I hope this never happens to anybody again because it’s not fair for me to be disrespected in front of clients and the members that come here,” Valenzuela said.

LA Fitness told KCAL they are aware of the situation, but refused to comment further. It has not been confirmed whether the gym planned to go through with banning Valenzuela from the women’s facilities; however, that seems unlikely, as California’s anti-discrimination law singles out “gender identity” and “gender expression” as protected classes.

Facilities use by so-called “transgender” people has been a particularly hot topic in California of late, as concerned parents have mounted a ballot referendum to overturn a recently-passed law requiring the state’s public schools to allow students to use the restroom and changing facilities of their chosen – not biological – sex, as well as participate in the single-sex activities of their choice, such as sports teams.

While California’s laws do not specifically address the use of privately owned restrooms, an increasing number of judges and commissioners around the country have interpreted “public accommodation” provisions like the one contained in California’s anti-discrimination law to include access to the bathroom of one’s choice. For example, in Oregon, a bar owner was recently ordered to pay a group of cross-dressers $400,000 after he asked them not to return due to other customer’s complaints about their inappropriate behavior in the women’s restroom.

The Obama administration’s Department of Justice, which has called the promotion of transgender acceptance a “top priority,” has also taken an aggressive stance on the issue, claiming that the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which bans discrimination based on sex, applies to “perceived” sex as well as real sex. The DOJ has mounted a campaign of legal harassment against schools and employers that fail to allow self-identified transgender people (regardless of biology or surgical status) to access facilities meant for the opposite sex.

A number of schools have been intimidated by the DOJ’s threats, including the University of Arkansas, which changed its bathroom policy after the DOJ sent them a letter threatening legal action if they refused to allow a 38-year old male cross-dresser to use the women’s restrooms, despite the fact that the man – a father of a toddler who had recently divorced his second wife – had not yet had surgery to remove his male organs.

But Randy Thomasson of Save California believes the DOJ is wrongly interpreting the law. Attorney General “Eric Holder needs to reread the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and find out that civil rights are based on an unchangeable, immutable characteristic,” Thomasson said, after the DOJ forced a Los Angeles area high school to allow a ninth grade girl to use the men’s facilities. “You cannot change your genes or your gender. You have chromosomes and they are either XX or XY.”

Laurence Vance, a policy adviser at the Future of Freedom Foundation, goes even further. Vance argues that governmental attempts to force private property owners to accommodate the whims of those suffering from gender confusion highlights a fatal flaw within the nation’s anti-discrimination laws.

“From a private property standpoint, the growing trend of making accommodations for ‘transgender’ people should be opposed root and branch, but not because this concerns anyone's sexual orientation or gender identity,” Vance told LifeSiteNews via e-mail. “All anti-discrimination laws are an assault not only on property rights, but on freedom of thought and freedom of association.”

“In a truly free society,” Vance stated, “all business and property owners would be free to discriminate against anyone, for any reason, and on any basis. And it goes without saying that they would be free to make their own restroom policies. But even without going this far, all federal anti-discrimination laws should still be opposed simply because the federal government has no authority under the Constitution to make them.”

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Steve Jalsevac Steve Jalsevac Follow Steve

Today’s chuckle: Rubio, Fiorina and Carson pardon a Thanksgiving turkey

Steve Jalsevac Steve Jalsevac Follow Steve
By Steve Jalsevac

A little bit of humour now and then is a good thing.

Happy Thanksgiving to all our American readers.

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Building of the European Court of Human Rights.
Lianne Laurence


BREAKING: Europe’s top human rights court slaps down German ban on pro-life leafletting

Lianne Laurence
By Lianne Laurence

STRASBOURG, France, November 26, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – The European Court of Human Rights ruled Thursday that a German regional court violated a pro-life activist’s freedom of expression when it barred him from leafleting in front of an abortion center.

It further ruled the German court’s order that Klaus Gunter Annen not list the names of two abortion doctors on his website likewise violated the 64-year-old pro-life advocate’s right to freedom of expression.

The court’s November 26 decision is “a real moral victory,” says Gregor Puppinck, director of the Strasbourg-based European Center for Law and Justice, which intervened in Annen’s case. “It really upholds the freedom of speech for pro-life activists in Europe.”

Annen, a father of two from Weinam, a mid-sized city in the Rhine-Neckar triangle, has appealed to the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights at least two times before, Puppinck told LifeSiteNews.

“This is the first time he made it,” he said, noting that this time around, Annen had support from the ECLJ and Alliance Defense Fund and the German Pro-life Federation (BVL). “I think he got more support, better arguments and so I think this helped.”

The court also ordered the German government to pay Annen costs of 13,696.87 EUR, or 14,530 USD.

Annen started distributing pamphlets outside a German abortion center ten years ago, ECLJ stated in a press release.

His leaflets contained the names and addresses of the two abortionists at the center, declared they were doing “unlawful abortions,” and stated in smaller print that, “the abortions were allowed by the German legislators and were not subject to criminal liability.”

Annen’s leaflets also stated that, “The murder of human beings in Auschwitz was unlawful, but the morally degraded NS State allowed the murder of innocent people and did not make it subject to criminal liability.” They referred to Annen’s website,, which listed a number of abortionists, including the two at the site he was leafleting.

In 2007, a German regional court barred Annen from pamphleteering in the vicinity of the abortion center, and ordered him to drop the name of the two abortion doctors from his website.

But the European Court of Human Rights ruled Thursday that the German courts had "failed to strike a fair balance between [Annen’s] right to freedom of expression and the doctor’s personality rights.”

The Court stated that, “there can be no doubt as to the acute sensitivity of the moral and ethical issues raised by the question of abortion or as to the importance of the public interest at stake.”

That means, stated ECLJ, that “freedom of expression in regard to abortion shall enjoy a full protection.”

ECLJ stated that the court noted Annen’s leaflets “made clear that the abortions performed in the clinic were not subject to criminal liability. Therefore, the statement that ‘unlawful abortions’ were being performed in the clinic was correct from a legal point of view.”

As for the Holocaust reference, the court stated that, “the applicant did not – at least not explicitly – equate abortion with the Holocaust.”  Rather, the reference was “a way of creating awareness of the more general fact that law might diverge from morality.”

The November 26 decision “is a quite good level of protection of freedom of speech for pro-life people,” observed Puppinck.

First, the European Court of Human Rights has permitted leafleting “in the direct proximate vicinity of the clinic, so there is no issue of zoning,” he told LifeSiteNews. “And second, the leaflets were mentioning the names of the doctors, and moreover, were mentioning the issue of the Holocaust, which made them quite strong leaflets.”

“And the court protected that.”

Annen has persevered in his pro-life awareness campaign through the years despite the restraints on his freedom.

“He did continue, and he did adapt,” Puppinck told LifeSiteNews. “He kept his freedom of speech as much as he could, but he continued to be sanctioned by the German authorities, and each time he went to the court of human rights. And this time, he won.”

ECLJ’s statement notes that “any party” has three months to appeal the November 26 decision.

However, as it stands, the European Court of Human Rights’s ruling affects “all the national courts,” noted Puppinck, and these will now “have to protect freedom of speech, recognize the freedom of speech for pro-lifers.”

“In the past, the courts have not always been very supportive of the freedom of speech of pro-life,” he said, so the ruling is “significant.”

As for Annen’s pro-life ministry, Pubbinck added: “He can continue to go and do, and I’m sure that he does, because he always did.”  

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A vibrant church in Africa. Pierre-Yves Babelon /
Pete Baklinski Pete Baklinski Follow Pete

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‘Soft racism’: German Bishops’ website attributes African Catholics’ strong faith to simplemindedness

Pete Baklinski Pete Baklinski Follow Pete
By Pete Baklinski

GERMANY, November 26, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) --  The only reason the Catholic Church is growing in Africa is because the people have a “rather low level” of education and accept “simple answers to difficult questions” involving marriage and sexuality, posited an article on the official website of the German Bishops' Conference posted yesterday. The article targeted particularly Cardinal Robert Sarah of Guinea, the Vatican's prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and ardent defender of Catholic tradition.

First Things blogger Leroy Huizenga, who translated a portion of the article, criticized the article's view as “soft racism.”

In his article, titled “The Romantic, Poor Church,” editor Björn Odendahl writes: 

So also in Africa. Of course the Church is growing there. It grows because the people are socially dependent and often have nothing else but their faith. It grows because the educational situation there is on average at a rather low level and the people accept simple answers to difficult questions (of faith) [sic]. Answers like those that Cardinal Sarah of Guinea provides. And even the growing number of priests is a result not only of missionary power but also a result of the fact that the priesthood is one of the few possibilities for social security on the dark continent.

Huizenga said that such an article has no place on a bishops’ conference website. 

“We all know that the German Bishops' Conference is one of the most progressive in the world. But it nevertheless beggars belief that such a statement would appear on the Conference's official website, with its lazy slander of African Christians and priests as poor and uneducated (Odendahl might as well have added ‘easy to command’) and its gratuitous swipe at Cardinal Sarah,” he wrote. 

“Natürlich progressives could never be guilty of such a sin and crime, but these words sure do suggest soft racism, the racism of elite white Western paternalism,” he added. 

African prelates have gained a solid reputation for being strong defenders of Catholic sexual morality because of their unwavering orthodox input into the recently concluded Synod on the Family in Rome. 

At one point during the Synod, Cardinal Robert Sarah urged Catholic leaders to recognize as the greatest modern enemies of the family what he called the twin “demonic” “apocalyptic beasts” of “the idolatry of Western freedom” and “Islamic fundamentalism.”

STORY: Cardinal Danneels warns African bishops to avoid ‘triumphalism’

“What Nazi-Fascism and Communism were in the 20th century, Western homosexual and abortion ideologies and Islamic fanaticism are today,” he said during his speech at the Synod last month. 

But African prelates’ adherence to orthodoxy has earned them enemies, especially from the camp of Western prelates bent on forming the Catholic Church in their own image and likeness, not according to Scripture, tradition, and the teaching magisterium of the Church. 

During last year’s Synod, German Cardinal Walter Kasper went as far as stating that the voice of African Catholics in the area of Church teaching on homosexuality should simply be dismissed.

African cardinals “should not tell us too much what we have to do,” he said in an October 2014 interview with ZENIT, adding that African countries are "very different, especially about gays.” 

Earlier this month Belgian Cardinal Godfried Danneels, instead of praising Africa for its vibrant and flourishing Catholicism, said that African prelates will one day have to look to Europe to get what he called “useful tips” on how to deal with “secularization” and “individualism.” 

The statement was criticized by one pro-family advocate as “patronizing of the worst kind” in light of the facts that numerous European churches are practically empty, vocations to the priesthood and religious life are stagnant, and the Catholic faith in Europe, especially in Belgium, is overall in decline.

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