The Supreme Court fight over whether religious schools can discriminate against LGBTQ people
Champion of Truth
“the federal law that prohibits sex-based discrimination in education is getting a radical overhaul that will gut critical due process protections for students accused of sexual misconduct.
Education Secretary Miguel Cardona touted the new proposals as necessary revisions to Trump-era rules that reasserted the need for colleges and universities to treat both parties to a sexual misconduct dispute fairly and equally. The Biden administration has apparently embraced the idea—one promoted by many progressive victims’ advocacy groups—that the rules propagated by previous Education Secretary Betsy DeVos made it too difficult to file sexual misconduct claims; Cardona’s proposals would substantially revert Title IX compliance to the Obama-era standards, under which hundreds of students allege that they were wrongfully expelled from college following adjudication procedures that were manifestly unfair.”
“The year was 1952, and Sen. Clyde R. Hoey (D–N.C.) was investigating how many gay people worked for the federal government and whether these workers were a security threat. In what would eventually be called the Lavender Scare, the government launched a purge of gay and lesbian employees, aided by a 1953 executive order by President Dwight Eisenhower. The witch hunts soon spilled over into the private sector, as workers lost jobs that required security clearances.”
“The year was 2004, and one state—Massachusetts—had started legally recognizing same-sex marriages. President George W. Bush, facing re-election, called for Congress to pass a constitutional amendment “defining and protecting marriage as a union of a man and a woman as husband and wife.” The Republican Party added the idea to its platform. While the national amendment was never adopted, 11 states passed their own constitutional bans against recognition that fall.”
“DeSantis and allied lawmakers have barred Florida educators from any instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity with young students at all, and they have restricted how teachers can approach those subjects in the higher grades. Parents are authorized to seek financial damages from school districts if they believe teachers or staff are discussing LGBT topics inappropriately—and what’s inappropriate is defined so vaguely that all sorts of unobjectionable conversations could prompt a suit. Some Florida schools have even started removing children’s books like I Am Jazz from their libraries because they featured trans characters. It’s not clear that the law actually requires such removals, but the possibility of lawsuits encourages districts to interpret the restrictions broadly.
Meanwhile, politicians in several states have introduced aggressive laws that attempt to stop minors from getting any sort of trans-affirmative medical treatment for gender dysphoria, even when parents and doctors support it. In Texas, Attorney General Ken Paxton has declared that giving minors any such treatment counts as “child abuse” and Gov. Greg Abbott has ordered officials to start investigating families. One of the first targets investigated was a parent who worked for the state’s own Department of Family and Protective Services. (Following a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union, a Texas court has put Abbott’s order on temporary hold.)
Contrary to their supporters’ rhetoric, these laws aren’t about preserving parents’ right to shape their children’s educations or protecting vulnerable young people from threats. After all, if you think families should make decisions about children’s education and care, that means accepting that families will make different decisions. Rules like these don’t establish a neutral position. They let one group of Americans tell another group of Americans that they don’t get a say in what their kids are taught or what treatments they can pursue.”
“The existence of detransitioners does not discredit trans-affirming treatments. The dramatically increased acceptance of gay and trans people in the U.S. has undoubtedly made young people more comfortable with questioning their gender identities. And the science of identifying gender dysphoria is complex and still being heavily researched, so it is inevitable that a certain number of people who believe they are trans might eventually decide otherwise and have regrets. (A survey from 2015 of more than 27,000 transgender Americans found that 8 percent had at least temporarily detransitioned at some point. Just 0.4 percent of all those surveyed had done so because they had concluded that they were not transgender after all, as opposed to stopping because of pressure from others, because they found the process to be too hard, or because of harassment.)
None of that justifies political intervention, even when we’re talking about minors. If you doubt that, consider the other optional surgeries that young people pursue. According to 2020 data from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, doctors performed more than 87,000 cosmetic surgical procedures on teenagers.
It’s considered controversial in some quarters to let teens get surgery to change their appearance. Certainly some adults would love for legislators to pass laws stopping minors from getting many of these procedures. But neither federal nor state governments have done so. As a culture, we accept that decisions about these surgeries are properly made by the teens, consenting parents, and medical professionals. You may think these are reckless decisions that the teens may someday regret, and probably some of them do. Some of them might go wrong, might not be as beautiful or as affirming as the teens hoped. But that isn’t our decision to make, and embracing liberty means accepting that people will make decisions that we might not choose for ourselves. (And if the doctor commits actual malpractice, there are civil courts to resolve that.)
That doesn’t change when the surgeries involve teen genitals rather than teen noses. Critics of these treatments believe youths are permanently disfiguring their bodies, but supporters retort that denying trans kids the treatments they want (not all of which are surgical) can lead to worsening mental health, even suicide. Either way, the stakes are higher—and that makes it more important that families be able to make these decisions without political interference.”
“The state is an expression of political will, not ethical medicine. The attorney general of Texas has no idea what treatments are best for kids who believe they may be transgender, but he has the power to investigate and jail parents for making decisions the government deems to be “abusive.” And we have a lengthy history of child welfare agencies harassing families for behavior that offends officials but does not cause actual harm to children.”
“The group Open Doors USA figures that 360 million Christians last year lived in countries where persecution was “significant.” Roughly 5,600 Christians were murdered, more than 6,000 were detained or imprisoned, and another 4,000-plus were kidnapped. In addition, more than 5,000 churches and other religious facilities were destroyed.
American Christians talk of persecution, but that is what real persecution looks like.
Every year Open Doors USA releases its World Watch report of the 50 states most likely to punish Christians for their faith. Last year 11 nations were guilty of “extreme persecution.”
Afghanistan took over the top spot from North Korea this year. Open Doors explains that it long was “impossible to live openly as a Christian in Afghanistan. Leaving Islam is considered shameful, and Christian converts face dire consequences if their new faith is discovered. Either they have to flee the country or they will be killed.””
“gender-affirming care — especially the varieties that are usually used in children, such as puberty blockers — are validated and accepted by pretty much every child medical society in the US and the world. Lots of scientific studies have validated the value of gender-affirming care for children and, of course, adults.”
“The governor’s order kind of caught us off guard. If this continues and this gets enforced more broadly, I think we are going to have to leave, and that sucks because we’ve lived here for almost two decades. We love living in Houston. We’ve been pretty happy here. But we are going to do what’s right for our family and obviously we cannot stay here with the state threatening to take away our children, who we love very much and we’re just trying to support their gender identity. It’s a shitshow, what can I say?”
“In recent weeks, as Republican politicians in several states have introduced increasingly draconian measures designed to crack down on the lives and well-being of trans teenagers”
“A bill in Idaho, currently being considered by the state Senate after being passed out of the House, perhaps goes furthest in this regard. That bill would make providing medical care to trans youths a felony, punishable with up to life in prison. It would also effectively trap families of trans children in Idaho by forbidding them to travel elsewhere for treatment.”
” exas Gov. Greg Abbott directed that state’s Department of Family and Protective Services to open child abuse investigations into parents who pursue gender-affirming health care for their trans children. A judge issued an injunction against the directive being carried out, but a tweet from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton suggested that the state will ignore the injunction and continue investigations into families of trans children.”
“There is a reason every major American medical body recommends giving trans children the chance to transition. (Here’s an article from the American Medical Association’s Journal of Ethics making this argument 11 years ago.) Children first transition socially — with changes to their clothing, haircut, and name. Then, with a physician’s guidance, they can block the onset of puberty in early adolescence, and finally start hormone treatment in later adolescence.
This method works. We have records of trans children receiving hormone treatment as long ago as the 1930s. With this approach, trans kids can largely live lives that are indistinguishable from those of cis kids.”
“It’s worth repeating some other basic facts: Affirming trans children’s genders reduces their risk of attempting suicide; the use of puberty blockers in trans kids is safe; children are having bottom surgery only in exceptionally rare cases; and almost every element of trans health care we have was originally developed for cisgender people. (Cis children with precocious puberty have been using blockers for decades!)”
“President Joe Biden..signed a bill to curb forced labor in China that U.S. business groups and trade experts warn will inflict unnecessary pain on U.S. firms and punish legitimately employed Uyghur Muslims in China’s Xinjiang region.
The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, which was approved after more than a year’s delay, is designed to insulate U.S. companies and consumers from complicity in forced labor practices in Xinjiang. The U.S. government has concluded that the practices are among abusive state policies targeting Uyghurs that constitute genocide.
But industry groups and trade lawyers say the law’s strict compliance standards coupled with problematic Customs and Border Protection enforcement will harm both U.S. business interests and Uyghur Muslims.”
““If you’re a company who is manufacturing in that area, you’re going to need to prove that slaves didn’t make it. The presumption is on you,” Rubio said after the bill’s Dec. 16 Senate passage.”
“Assertions of the law’s stringent compliance standards are no exaggeration. It imposes a presumption of guilt in terms of forced labor links to any Xinjiang-sourced imports — predominately agricultural and chemical products — and obligates importers to provide documentation that proves its Xinjiang supply chains are not tied to forced labor.
The experience of solar and apparel companies from previous forced labor enforcement actions by Customs and Border Protection suggest that the new law’s compliance standards will be “practically impossible” to meet, said former CBP trade lawyer Richard Mojica.”
“Mojica and other trade lawyers say the law’s compliance requirements will most seriously impact small- and medium-sized U.S. firms that lack in-house expertise to reliably map complex overseas supply chains.”
“I sued the city for racial discrimination and police misconduct, winning a modest settlement. But I had been slurred a “sand n—-r” and wrongfully detained on an erroneous warrant in a city I once considered home. The effect on me was not readily apparent, but, in time, I would discover that a nameless fear had imperceptibly unhinged me.”
“In a new working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research, researchers found rampant racial discrimination in American rental markets — specifically, that property managers are less likely to respond to prospective Black and Hispanic tenants when they inquire about open listings.
Using a software bot, the economists sent inquiries from fake renters to 8,476 property managers in the 50 largest US metropolitan housing markets. The bot assigned names to fictitious renters that would indicate whether the race of the inquirer was white, Black, or Hispanic.
The bot found that names perceived to be white got a response 5.6 percentage points more than Black-sounding names, and 2.8 percentage points more than Hispanic-sounding names.”
“You might be familiar with résumé studies where researchers will send in identical résumés with just one thing changed, such as a 2003 study by economists Marianne Bertrand and Sendhil Mullainathan that showed résumés with names perceived as Black received 50 percent fewer callbacks than those with white-sounding names.”