By Autumn Leva – Vice President of Strategy
The top LGBT activist groups in the country have a well-coordinated plan.
Their “golden calf” is to add the words “sexual orientation and gender identity” to every state’s and our federal so-called nondiscrimination laws so that anyone who identifies themselves with those classifications gets special protections under the law—just like we intentionally have for the classifications of race, national origin, religion, and others.
To be clear, it’s a big deal to add a new group’s classification to nondiscrimination laws—and it should be.
There are times when special protections for a group are necessary and right. Our country’s history of systemic and deeply-rooted slavery, racism, exclusion, and even violence toward the Black community is a clear example of one of these times. The federal Civil Rights (nondiscrimination) laws protecting individuals from discrimination simply because they belong to a particular racial group provided critical—and even life-saving—protections for Black Americans. Prior to the Civil Rights laws, it was legal for not just a private business owner, but even a government office, to deny a person employment simply because of the color of his skin.
The point is that we reserve creating “special protected groups” in the law for the most serious and compelling reasons like systemic racism.
This is why the LGBT lobby has found it difficult to convince lawmakers to add their preferred groups of “sexual orientation and gender identity” to the states’ nondiscrimination laws—because the LGBT advocacy groups haven’t been able to show state-sponsored systemic and deeply-rooted discrimination against their preferred groups.
State lawmakers are right to reject adding the LGBT lobby’s special groups because the “sexual orientation group” is based upon behavior, which makes it very hard to define. And the “gender identity group” is based upon a person identifying on a spectrum of boy to girl, or seemingly infinite other possibilities anywhere between (or not identifying on the spectrum at all)—again, making that group hard to define and therefore hard to determine how to protect in the law.
But the LGBT national groups are undeterred. They’ve instead shifted their focus from state Capitols to targeting vulnerable towns and cities across America—passing “sexual orientation and gender identity” special classifications at the city level. This means that in some states, the college towns and most liberal cities list sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes, but the rest of the state does not. This causes confusion in the law and creates problems for well-meaning citizens—especially business owners—in those targeted cities.
But here’s the encouraging news…some states are successfully pushing back, protecting their individual cities and maintaining consistency in their state’s protected classes. Arkansas is one state that has successfully pushed back, with the help of our state ally, Arkansas Family Council!
Several years ago, Arkansas Family Council helped state legislators successfully pass a law that makes clear that an individual city cannot add any new “protected class” that is not a protected class listed in the statewide statutes. Despite this good law, Fayetteville, Arkansas attempted to add “sexual orientation and gender identity” as protected classes in 2015. After years of legal battles, at the end of January the Arkansas Supreme Court finally ruled that Fayetteville cannot enforce their “sexual orientation and gender identity” ordinance because it violates Arkansas state law regarding protected classes. Congratulations, Arkansas!
So far, only a few states (Arkansas, North Carolina, and Tennessee) prevent their cities from adding “sexual orientation and gender identity” as new protected legal classes. We need more states to follow their lead!
So what can you do?
- Be a light in your city!
Know what’s going on in your city, and let your local state family policy council know immediately if your city is considering adding new protected classes. We’ll need your help to rally others who will join together to help city leaders understand why adding new protected classes is a bad idea.
- Contact your state lawmaker!
Ask your state lawmakers to pass a bill like Arkansas’ that prevents cities in your state from adding new protected classes! Find your state lawmakers HERE.
Standing for Truth with you,
Vice President of Strategy