March 28, 2018
Imagine your daughter walking in from swim practice to find a half-naked man in her locker room. Parents in Washington State don't have to imagine. They experienced it.
When staff members confronted the man, he resisted, saying the law had been changed and he "had the right to use the locker room of his choice." That's just one of the traumatic stories playing out in states across America. In Anchorage, Alaska, the locals are open-minded. But not so open-minded that they think their privacy should be threatened. Unfortunately for them, city leaders didn't care about their safety, forcing through a radical gender-free policy without ever asking.
Now, months later, the residents are fighting back. And next week, they'll finally get the say they've been asking for in a mail-in proposition to roll back the devastating policy. For most of Anchorage, this is déjà vu. After all, they'd already rejected a liberal ordinance like this in 2012 -- by 58 percent! Despite that, the mayor pressed on, adding the measure on sexual orientation/gender identity to the city guidelines in 2015.
So far, that decision has had a devastating effect. At a downtown homeless shelter, a man who goes by the name Samantha tried to enter the Hope Center, where the women sleep on the floor, inches apart. Two times, the shelter, a faith-based operation, turned him away. "Many of the women who the Hope Center shelters have escaped the horrendous conditions of sexual exploitation and human trafficking. It would be wholly irresponsible and potentially dangerous for Hope Center to house biological males in its shelter overnight with the population of abused and battered women who stay at the shelter," staffers said.
Angry, "Samantha" filed a complaint with the city's Equal Rights Commission, determined to shut the battered women's shelter down. Monica Burke, writing for the Daily Signal, was appalled. "Finding accommodations for transgender individuals need not come at the cost of bodily privacy and safety for people across the board, especially that of women. Broad 'equal access' policies such as this one put the most vulnerable citizens at risk." In a few days, Anchorage has an opportunity to make things right.
Not everyone is so lucky. In Colorado, legislators are having trouble even passing a weak compromise on religious freedom called the "Live and Let Live" bill. Any attempt to protect conservatives' conscience is smeared as "mean-spirited" or "outright discriminatory." (Nevermind that the same state is before the Supreme Court for being, as Justice Anthony Kennedy put it, "neither tolerant nor respectful" of Christians' beliefs.)
Thanks to Obergefell, legislatures everywhere are having to deal with the fallout of the redefinition of marriage. Like abortion, which is as fiercely controversial today as it was 45 years ago, the court's ruling didn't settle anything. They can make same-sex marriage legal. They can even take away our freedom. But they can never make it right.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.