Testimony by Peter Sprigg in opposition to Senate Bill 212By Peter Sprigg Senior Fellow for Policy Studies
Testimony in opposition to Senate Bill 212
Senior Fellow for Policy Studies, Family Research Council
Resident, Montgomery County, Maryland
Maryland State Senate, Judicial Proceedings Committee
February 4, 2014
I urge you to oppose Senate Bill 212
This bill caters to anyone who is "transgendered," a broad umbrella term that includes transsexuals (people who have had sex-change surgery), anyone who has changed or is changing their public "gender identity" (regardless of whether they have had surgery or hormone treatments), transvestites (people who dress as the opposite sex on an occasional basis for emotional or sexual gratification), and drag queens and drag kings (people who dress as the opposite sex for the purpose of entertaining others).
It should be opposed by anyone who believes in freedom of speech, freedom of association, freedom of conscience and religion, and a free market economy. Here are some reasons why:
- The bill would increase government interference in the free market. It would substitute the judgment of the state for that of the employer regarding what qualities or characteristics are most relevant to a particular job.
- "Gender identity" is unlike most other characteristics protected in civil rights laws. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 bars discrimination based on "race, color, national origin, sex, and religion." The first four of these are included largely because they are inborn, involuntary and immutable. (Religion, while voluntary, is explicitly protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.) Transgender behavior meets none of these criteria.
- The bill would lead to costly lawsuits against employers. In the case of public employers (which are explicitly covered by the bill), such a law could lead to large settlements being paid at taxpayers' expense.
- The bill would undermine the ability of employers to impose reasonable dress and grooming standards. The bill professes to protect such standards. However, it requires that such standards be consistent with the employee's chosen and variable "gender identity." This effectively forbids employers from using the most fundamental standard of all-that people be dressed and groomed in a way that is culturally appropriate for their biological sex.
- The bill would violate the privacy of others. Because transgender status is not dependent on having "sex-change surgery," SB 212 would allow some biological males (who claim to be female) to appear nude before females (and vice versa) in bathrooms, locker rooms, and showers. (Previous versions of comparable federal legislation included an exemption for "shared shower and dressing facilities in which being seen unclothed is unavoidable." There is no such exemption in this bill.)
- The bill would mandate the employment of "transgendered" individuals in inappropriate occupations. For example, under this bill, employers in the area of education and childcare would be denied the right to refuse to hire transgendered individuals, even if they consider such persons to be confusing, disturbing, or inappropriate role models for children and young people.
Please vote "no" on Senate Bill 212.