After more than a year of battling what has been dubbed the “bathroom bill” Houstonians showed their overwhelming opposition to the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) bill Tuesday night in the polls. This was a major win for those who are concerned with public safety – especially for the public safety of women. In the one-minute anti-HERO ad, paid for by the Campaign for Houston PAC, a woman explained exactly what was at stake, “This ordinance [would] allow men to freely go into women’s bathrooms, locker rooms, and showers. That is filthy; that is disgusting; and that is unsafe”.
The Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) is a classic example of a SOGI (Sexual Orientation Gender Identity; pronounced So-gee) bill. So what is a SOGI bill and why am I so worried about one being passed in my city?
Let’s go back to the SCOTUS decision on marriage earlier this year. Agents of political correctness weren’t satisfied after marriage was redefined by the Supreme Court. At their core the LGBT community’s mantra has encapsulated the idea of equality in all things. Equality in employment, in housing, and – most alarmingly – in public accommodations. These are the three main civil right protections based on the ambiguous terms of SOGI that gay lobbyists would pass nationwide if given the chance. A SOGI bill can cover any combination of those protections and may contain language which protects both sexual orientation and gender identity or just one of them.
Non-discrimination in employment
Employment refers to bias in hiring, job assignment, termination, compensation, and even harassment on the basis of SOGI. Conservatives often take issue if the ordinance contains limited or no “religious exemption” which would prevent employers from considering sexual conduct. In areas of education and childcare this could become a significant problem.
Non-discrimination in housing
Housing could include bias in buying or renting a home, receiving HUD programs, and mortgage tax deductions. Similar to employment, if the ordinance contains limited to no exemptions for private homeowners or nonprofits then those entities would be forced by law to provide housing and would risk being fined or losing their home to lawsuit fees.
Non-discrimination in public accommodations
Public accommodations is most easily understood as the vast majority of businesses and buildings that are open to and offer services for the general public. This can include parks, hospitals, theatres, and airports. Consider it this way, once you step out of your home you are nearly always in a public accommodation.
According to the Family Research Council gender identity laws (such as HERO) under public accommodations would, “allow some biological males (who claim to be female) to appear nude before females (and vice versa) in bathrooms, locker rooms, and shower”.
Also under this provision those who provide products, services, or catering could be forced to participate in the celebration of a same-sex wedding even if the group or business holds strong religious convictions in opposition to same-sex marriage.
Passing bills one city at a time
Even though a nationwide SOGI bill is possible in the future, the LGBT agenda is a slow and calculated approach to win over each state, city by city and county by county, until the entire nation would be covered by non-discrimination legislation. Currently, 17 states and more than 225 cities across the country has in place a non-discrimination ordinance based on gender identity.
Many voters agree that basic protections for employment and housing makes sense and would even favor a law which bans discrimination in these areas. I personally fit into this category. For example, I agree with Utah lawmakers; If I am a business owner with “four or more single-family dwelling units held for sale or lease at the same time” they believe it is unfair to deny housing to a person based on their sexual orientation. On the other hand, I do not favor a bill which would omit exemptions for private individuals, nonprofit organizations, or noncommercial transactions.
This is something most people tend to overlook – a bill’s language and nuances. SOGI bills are all about the language. As an everyday citizen, if I do not know the language of a bill coming through then I can do more harm than good by voting for or against it. The scary thing is that LGBT lobbyists know this and exploit the fact we are uninformed. As these groups continue to tout the “equality” and “tolerance” arguments they are carefully crafting SOGI laws which open the door for reverse discrimination on those people who hold traditional values.
Becoming informed about the SOGI non-discrimination laws being developed and passed in our city is the most important thing each of us can do. When you can, read the bills themselves rather than relying on TV ads. While reading the bill look specifically to see the kind of exemptions the bill has. In general be wary of the SOGI or non-discrimination ordinances you see on the ballots. Ask yourself questions like, which provisions fall under this bill? Does it include employment, housing, and public accommodations or a combination of them? Does it use just the term sexual orientation or does it also include gender identity?