BLOGThe Weekly Digest: 10-19-16

By James Arnold Posted on: | October 19, 2016
For an introduction to the Weekly Digest, read our first post here. To receive the Alliance Alert Daily Digest in your inbox every day, sign up here.

On to the news.

 

The New York Times Suggests Desegregating the Sexes

 

Over at The New York Times, Judith Shulevitz has this piece about the recent rise of privacy cases.

Here's how Shulevitz describes the legal disputes:

"Imagine the following scenario. Two teenagers have to change for gym. Both wear the skinny jeans and Converse sneakers that make up the quasi-uniform of the American middle-schooler. But one was born with a girl’s body, the other with a boy’s. The second has asked the school to consider her a girl, and the school has agreed to do so. But the girl-born-a-girl (the cisgender girl, to use the preferred term) does not want to strip in front of the transgender girl or have that person strip in front of her. Meanwhile, the transgender girl does not want to be banished from the common area like some sort of freak. The standoff will end only when one retreats to a stall to change in private. Which one will it be?

"According to the federal agencies charged with enforcing Title IX, the statute banning sex discrimination at publicly funded schools, the cisgender girl must cede the floor. But 23 states, a number of Christian groups and at least one radical feminist organization disagree. They have filed lawsuits to challenge that view.

"The problem schools face is that they can’t prevent sex discrimination unless they can say with certainty what sex is. And in an age of gender fluidity, the word is hard to define. This year the agencies told schools to interpret “sex” as a psychological condition, an “internal sense of gender,” rather than an anatomical one. The new interpretation has some science to back it up. But the way the change was made — by fiat, without public debate — has produced a surprisingly broad backlash, from secular feminists as well as evangelical conservatives."

The last paragraph is insightful for a few reasons. First, it admits that schools cannot function if we redefine "sex" to mean "our internal perception." Putting aside the concept of "gender fluidity" for a moment, if a school is tasked (partially) with making sure its students are in an environment that is conducive to learning, it makes little sense for a school to force many students (particularly young girls) into a situation they are naturally (and rightly) uncomfortable with.

Second, the author notes that this was done "by fiat, without public debate." This is significant. Without input from parents or students or voters or anything other than "some science," the federal government declared that all schools must allow anybody into the restroom or locker room of their choice, no doctor's note required.

Third, the author assumes that the backlash was "surprisingly broad" primarily because the change was done without public debate. Perhaps that would have removed the surprise, but certainly not the breadth. The concerns of these students are valid, even if a particular individual does not hold them. As the author notes:

"Courts have largely agreed that no one should have to undress unwillingly in front of a member of the opposite sex, or see that person naked. Call it prudishness, if you like, but such modesty is common. We live in a sex-segregated world. After a certain point in childhood, men and women go their separate ways for almost every activity that involves exposing the body."

Not only is the modesty common, but it is natural. It is also necessary for schools to protect the rights and concerns of all of their students. That's why Alliance Defending Freedom has built a model policy for these issues.

 
Pro-Life Centers (Still) Forced to Promote Abortions in California

In California, pro-life centers are still required to promote abortions in the wake of a 9th Circuit decision that refused to halt AB 775, the law behind this government coercion. That's bad news.

Here's what ADF Senior Counsel Matt Bowman had to say:

"It’s bad enough if the government tells you what you can’t say, but a law that tells you what you must say—under threat of severe punishment—is even more unjust and dangerous. In this case, political allies of abortionists are seeking to punish pro-life pregnancy centers, which offer real hope and help to women. Forcing these centers to promote abortion and recite the government’s preferred views is a clear violation of their constitutionally protected First Amendment freedoms. That’s why other courts around the country have halted these kinds of measures and why we will be discussing the possibility of appeal with our clients."

It is absurd to require pro-life centers to promote California-provided abortions. Other states have already ruled against laws like these. In California, the culture of death marches on.


As always, you can receive the Alliance Alert Daily Digest right in your inbox. Subscribe by clicking here.

James Arnold

News and Research Manager

James Arnold manages and edits the Alliance Alert, a daily repository of news in all forms—written, spoken, or in video format.

More from ADF View All

A Great Win for a Conservative Consulting Firm and Free Speech!

A Great Win for a Conservative Consulting Firm and Free Speech!

Grant and Jacob are now free to choose for themselves which political positio...

Mr. Funny | Words | Author | I'm the icon | www | 10/22/2019 22:00:00 Read More

How this Pastor Walked with a Man Struggling with Gender Dysphoria

How this Pastor Walked with a Man Struggling with Gender Dysphoria

Pastor Jeff was accustomed to helping struggling people. But this was a diffe...

Mr. Funny | Words | Author | I'm the icon | www | 10/22/2019 16:30:32 Read More

Pro-Life Sidewalk Counselors in Pittsburgh Just Got Some Great News from a Federal Court

Pro-Life Sidewalk Counselors in Pittsburgh Just Got Some Great News from a Federal Court

The Third Circuit ruled that Pittsburgh’s censorship zone cannot be applied t...

Mr. Funny | Words | Author | I'm the icon | www | 10/18/2019 17:00:00 Read More

News You Should Know: Running Away with the Competition

News You Should Know: Running Away with the Competition

Did you see these news stories from the past week?

Mr. Funny | Words | Author | I'm the icon | www | 10/18/2019 23:49:18 Read More