June 6, 2008
Three months ago, I told you about a new law in Montgomery County, Maryland, that demands co-ed locker rooms and restrooms in all public accommodations. The law was intended to accommodate "transgendered people" - that is, men who say they perceive themselves to be women, and women who claim they consider themselves men. I said, at the time, that we would see extremists in other jurisdictions attempting to pass similar laws. And that is exactly what is happening.
Last week, Colorado's legislature passed - and Gov. Bill Ritter signed - a law that will open all public accommodations, including public restrooms, to anyone who wants to use them. That means men may use a women's restroom, and women may enter men's rooms. The rationale for Senate Bill 200 is that transgenders should be able to use the restroom they feel most comfortable using. Apparently, it is not important if others feel uncomfortable having their privacy violated every time they use public facilities.
The lack of privacy is not the only problem. Nobody is going to ask a man if he is trangendered before allowing him into the ladies' room. This means any man - including a child molester - could simply follow a little girl into the privacy of a public restroom. And, if a man decided to expose himself to a young girl there, who is she going to complain to? After all, restrooms, by definition, are places where one exposes the private parts of one's body. Men will have even less privacy, because they often do not use stalls.
Appalling as this law is, it gets worse. Tom Minnery of Focus on the Family points out, in the Denver Post, that the law also threatens religious liberty: Colorado's "public accommodations" law includes not only hotels and restaurants, but also any small or home-based business that offers "goods or services" to the public.
And, as we have seen before, radicals go out of their way to target Christian businesses. As Minnery notes, in Albuquerque, a Christian couple who operate a photography studio politely declined, on religious grounds, to photograph a lesbian "commitment ceremony." For this exercise of their First Amendment rights, the couple were forced to appear before New Mexico's human rights commission and fined more than $6,600. Now, if you dare to deny a transgendered "man" access to the women's room, you can be prosecuted under criminal laws and spend up to a year in jail. It is an outrage.
The American people are not asking for new bathroom laws. The truth is, this is an effort - by a small but radical minority - to use the force of law to punish anyone backward enough to believe there are only two sexes: male and female. The true goal behind the law is the radical remaking of our society - one in which faithful Christians, Muslims, and Jews will be punished for their beliefs.
Are you disgusted enough? Good. If you live in Colorado, get to work putting an initiative on the November ballot. That is what citizens of Montgomery County, Maryland, did. And the rest of us better stay on our guard, keeping an eye on our own lawmakers.
In a free country, nobody has the right to tell us what to believe - or to punish us for putting our First Amendment rights into practice. And, yes, there are men and women who deserve privacy, no matter who tells us there are no differences between the sexes.
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Copyright © 2008 Prison Fellowship, used with permission. Chuck Colson’s daily BreakPoint commentary airs each weekday on more than one thousand outlets with an estimated listening audience of one million people. BreakPoint provides a Christian perspective on today’s news and trends via radio, interactive media, and print.