"Expansive protections for some that lead to restricted liberties for others do not advance equality or tolerance. Instead, they cause coercion and further discrimination."
(Continued from Monday)
This is what is primarily problematic about the SOGIE bill—the underlying gender ideology that ambiguously defines gender identity as the personal sense of one’s own gender, which can either correlate or differ from the assigned sex at birth regardless of the socially accepted categories of gender identity. The question is, if gender identity is principally a subjective criterion, how can we apply it objectively? In fact, it is not that no one other than the person claiming a particular orientation can tell whether such a claim is authentic? If one freely chooses his or her sexual orientation, and given that the classification is basically fluid (transgender vs. lesbian, bisexual vs. homo/hetero, etc), who defines sexual orientation and gender identity?
It appears that the SOGIE bills ignore the ambiguity that persists in the social sciences as to the definition and origin of sexual orientation and gender identity. Enshrining heavily contested and politicized categories in the law poses problematic consequences for those whose moral and/or religious convictions conflict with rapidly evolving conceptions of sexuality.
What if the categorization is in conflict of another’s religious beliefs? For example, a business establishment that would refuse to cater to same-sex partners, because it is in conflict of their religious beliefs? Would they be legally liable? How will their religious liberty be protected? Isn’t it possible that SOGIE will stigmatize moral convictions of people who do not agree with SOGIE rights? In fact the SOGIE Equality Bill could force the Church and faith-based organizations to provide services that conflict with their moral teachings and principles. These laws could also expose private business owners with religious convictions to lawsuits and criminal penalties.
For example, regarding racial discrimination, the color of a person’s skin has no relation to his or her moral action, while sexual orientation and gender identity do. Unlike race, sexual orientation and gender identity are known through conduct and personal lifestyle choices, which can and should be ethically evaluated. It appears that by penalizing offenders, the SOGIE bill would discriminate against those who do not agree with a regime of laws premised on a sexually permissive understanding of human nature that denies sexual complementarity. Would it not that the SOGIE bill create a new form of discrimination by socially isolating certain beliefs?
Would not the SOGIE bill elevate LGBTQ persons to a protected class status? Consequently, dissent on sexual orientation or gender identity would be considered particularly suspect and harmful. Would private enterprises would be absolutely prohibited from denying any good or service to persons on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity without leaving a room for accommodating the viewpoints of those have objected to providing their services for gay persons? For example, the prohibition on gay persons studying or working in Catholic institutions to cross-dress or participate in Pride parades.
Isn’t it not that the SOGIE bill leaves those people who dissent from the proposed legislation defenseless by failing to accommodate their sincere religious beliefs and by failing to distinguish between the dignity of gay individuals and the particular conduct in which some cannot in good conscience participate?
Since the SOGIE bill provides that “if an employer, whether from the private or public sector, includes sexual orientation or gender identity in the criteria for hiring, promotion, transfer, designation, work assignment, reassignment, dismissal, performance review, selection for training, in the computation of benefits, privileges and allowances” would a Catholic school who refuses to hire, or terminates a teacher who cross-dresses or in a stable same sex relationship—would that be considered discrimination?
If a school or any educational or training institution refuses to admit a student or participant or chooses to expel him or her solely on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity—would an all-girls exclusive Catholic school who refuses to admit a teenage transgender person who identifies as a woman, would that be considered discrimination?
If parents refuses to consent to their child’s decision to undergo a gender hormone therapy—would that under the SOGIE bill constitute discrimination?
If a priest or a pastor, in good conscience, preach against homosexual acts, would that under the SOGIE bill constitute discrimination?
ALL human rights, both those of LGBTQ or straight persons, should be protected. The equal protection clause of the Constitution already affirms that since every person has equal dignity and thus equal rights. Expansive protections for some that lead to restricted liberties for others do not advance equality or tolerance. Instead, they cause coercion and further discrimination.
There is no compelling reason to deny a gay individual access to his or her favorite restaurant. It is nonsensical to prevent a gay individual from purchasing batteries or being treated at a hospital. But that isn’t what the SOGIE Equality Bill attempts to fix, because those problems are extreme, and so rare as to be virtually nonexistent. The SOGIE Equality Bill instead paves over the consciences of those who cannot in good faith condone conduct they believe to be immoral.
It appears that SOGIE is not a step toward unity and compromise, but conformity. Far from fostering equality, the bill creates a class of citizens protected in a matter that is more advantaged than the general citizenry, precisely institutionalizing inequality in the long term.