Non-Discrimination 101 – What You Need to Know

Non-Discrimination 101 – What You Need to Know

Utah Capitol sketchAs in previous years, a nondiscrimination bill was presented during the 2013 Utah Legislative session. It gained unprecedented momentum by passing a Senate Committee, before dying on the Senate Floor.  It will be back in the 2014 Legislative session.[i]

Nondiscrimination laws sound like a good idea. But they’re not. They give special “rights” to some people at the expense of others. They harm our First Freedoms of Speech and Conscience, and our Right to make a living.

It is true that Salt Lake City passed city-wide nondiscrimination ordinances in 2009, giving special protections to “sexual orientation”[ii] and “gender identity”[iii] in housing and employment. However, the more recent nondiscrimination laws we have seen–including the bill that came to the Utah Legislature in 2013–go much further, adding things that are not in the Salt Lake City ordinances. These newer nondiscrimination Transgender 1laws may also include:

  • Protection of “gender expression:”[iv]
  • Protections for LGBT citizens in all “Public Accommodations.”[v]
  • Allowing anyone to use whatever restroom, locker room, or shower room they wish.[vi]
  • Criminal penalties with potential jail time, for those who do not follow the law.[vii]

 So nondiscrimination laws are not really fair after all.

 Talk to your friendsWhat can you do? 

Every person can talk to family, neighbors, and coworkers. Here is an example of a simple,  four-step message that you can share in as little as 30 seconds:

1) Nondiscrimination laws seem reasonable but they’re not.

2) They give special rights to some people at the expense of others.

3) They harm our First Freedoms of Speech and Conscience, and our right to make a living. For example:

4) So in the end, nondiscrimination laws are not fair after all.

Religious freedomHere are a few more examples of what happens when “nondiscrimination rights” trump our First Freedoms of Speech and Conscience, and our Right to make a living:

  • A Vermont country Inn was ordered to pay $30,000 for declining to host a gay wedding reception because of their religious beliefs.
  • A Georgia graduate student was expelled from her graduate counseling program because she refused to change her religious beliefs on homosexuality.
  • Catholic Charities closed their doors in several states, rather than go against their religious beliefs by conforming to a law that would force them to place adopted children with same-sex couples.
  • A Colorado school district granted a transgender first grader the right to use the girls’ restroom. (The option to use the nurse’s bathroom was ruled as discriminatory.)
  • A California gynecologist declined to perform an in vitro fertilization on a lesbian patient because of her religious beliefs, and was sued by her patient. The California Supreme Court ruled against the doctor, suggesting that she “take up a different line of business”

[i] “What happens in Utah can matter in a profound way. Anytime you change the lines or change laws in Utah that are discriminatory, many are going to see it as a benchmark, possibly, for other places.” (Robert Redford)  Equality Utah event, Sep. 2013

http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865586527/Robert-Redford-calls-for-LGBT-rights-at-Equality-Utah-event.html

[ii]  Sexual orientation is who you are attracted to.  “Sexual Orientation means an individual’s actual or perceived orientation as heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual.”  Utah bill SB 262 March, 2013

[iii]  Gender identity is who you feel like you are, regardless of your anatomy. “Gender Identity means an individual’s internal sense of gender, without regard to the individual’s designated sex at birth. Evidence of gender identity may include an individual’s self-identification, as well as the individual’s gender-related appearance, mannerisms, and other gender-related characteristics.” Utah bill SB 262 March, 2013

[iv] Gender expression is who you feel like dressing or acting like at any given moment.  “Actual or perceived gender-related characteristics, identity, appearance, expression or behavior of a person, regardless of such person’s biological or assigned sex at birth.”  Idaho Falls nondiscrimination ordinance August, 2013

[v] “Any public place, licensed or unlicensed. . . It shall be unlawful to deny to any person because of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression, the full enjoyment of any of the accommodations, advantages, facilities or privileges of any place of public resort, accommodation, assemblage, or amusement.”  Idaho Falls nondiscrimination ordinance August, 2013

[vi] “It is a discriminatory and prohibited employment practice to deny an employee access to restrooms, shower facilities, or dressing facilities that are consistent with the employee’s gender identity.”  Utah bill SB 262 March, 2013

[vii] “Any person violating any of the provisions of this Chapter shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction thereof, shall be punished pursuant to this Code.”  Idaho Falls nondiscrimination ordinance August, 2013

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