Once it had convinced the Supreme Court to redefine marriage for the entire nation, you would think the Obama administration would have paused and let the country catch its breath. It didn’t.
Instead, it raced to impose new gender identity policies on states, employers, hospitals and even schoolchildren — without a hint of congressional approval.
Late last month, the Supreme Court agreed to take a case that will either roll back this massive government overreach or allow the administration to redefine what it means to be a man and a woman under law.
First, some background. The Obama administration says a person’s sex is not something that can be objectively determined by birth. Rather, it is merely a placeholder “assigned at birth,” much like a Social Security number, only far easier to change.
According to the administration, one’s actual sex is discovered later in life, can range from “male, female, neither, or a combination of male and female,” and doesn’t depend on genetics, anatomy, or dressing, acting, or looking a certain way.
People with gender dysphoria deserve to be treated with sensitivity and respect, and people should be free to believe whatever they want about these new gender identities, but they should not be forced upon people who have reasonable scientific, philosophical and religious objections for not going along.
The administration has nevertheless threatened to strip schools of their funding unless teachers and students treat others according to their self-declared gender identities instead of biology.
A teen biological girl that identifies as male sued a Virginia school district to get full access to the boys’ bathrooms. Recognizing the competing interests at issue and trying to be compassionate, the school installed single-occupancy unisex facilities as an accommodation, but the student was not satisfied. The Obama administration swiftly weighed in on the case, called Gloucester County School Board v. G.G and argued that when Congress banned sex discrimination in education in 1972, it really banned gender identity discrimination and that the schools’ accommodation was not an act of sensitivity, but bigotry.
This case will have ramifications far beyond school shower, bathroom and dorm policies. That’s because the Obama administration has administratively redefined “sex” to mean “gender identity” in a host of federal anti-discrimination laws covering more than education — including housing, health care, employment, lending and federal contracting — even though the American people, through their representatives, have repeatedly rejected such proposals.
The case will also affect the ability of states to protect their citizens’ privacy and safety interests. Twenty-four states and governors have already sued the administration for attempting to dictate their state’s bathroom and shower policies without legal authority. North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory deserves tremendous credit for leading this effort and for standing against the progressive bullies in the media, big business and the federal government.
McCrory knows that subjective and unverifiable gender identity policies threaten the safety and privacy of women and girls in intimate facilities because they open the door to abuse by non-transgender people. At the same time, he’s also set North Carolina policy to accommodate transgender people with private facilities so everyone’s privacy is protected.
Large majorities favor bathroom, locker and shower policies that reflect biological realities, while also adding private accommodations for anyone who would feel uncomfortable under the rules. But the administration and LGBT activists consider this commonsense solution to be rank discrimination.
We’ll find out what the Supreme Court thinks about all this soon enough. With any luck, the justices will uphold our laws as written and completely reject the administration’s social experiments.
A version of this article first appeared in The Philadelphia Inquirer.