Why the New “Gender Identity” Bill Must Be Stopped

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As you know, the Utah Legislature is now nearing the end of the session – one week to go.

A brand new GENDER IDENTITY bill came out Wednesday, March 4, 2015 that redefines SEX and does NOT protect individual religious liberty – SB 296 (Urquhart-Adams) VOTE NO!

This bill is fast-tracked for a hearing as the first item on the agenda at 8 AM Thursday, March 5, 2015.

Please contact ALL Senators immediately. Ask them to VOTE NO on SB 296: Antidiscrimination and Religous Liberty Amendments (Urquhart-Adams).

Talking Points
This bill has several flaws:

1. We need more time to review and inform voters and others who will be affected negatively by this legislation.

For a bill that demands “fairness,” what kind of fairness is there in a thirty-five page bill that dramatically changes the definition of sex to “gender identity” – the first time ever in Utah history – and that has been given less than 24 hours to to review?

In less than 24 hours, we have not had time to bring in expert witnesses from Johns Hopkins University, Harvard and Los Angeles – all who were willing to be there to testify.

We have barely had time to get the information to those reading this blog post in time to respond for the scheduled 8 AM hearing.

This is not what we expect from our Utah legislators. This is what happens only in Washington DC, right? Wrong. It’s happening now, right here in UTAH!

2. This bill protects institutions, associations and affiliates, but it leaves you and me – the individual religious adherent vulnerable and “under the bus.”

This is unacceptable. Another bill in the House, HB 322, sponsored by Representative LaVar Christensen and by your colleague Senator Al Jackson in the Senate, has the proper balance and DOES protect individuals. We cannot pass SB 296 without removing this flaw.

The easier and more logical solution is to support HB 322 – Religious Liberty and Nondiscrimination Protections when it comes to the Senate.

3.Lines 105-109, page 4: SB 296 uses the DSM-5 definition of “gender identity.” This is the very organization that is trying to shut down therapists and counselors and doctors around the country who desire to help their clients based on their religious beliefs, and we should trust that source to protect our First Amendment liberties?

Even at BYU, the APA accredits the psychology department. The chairman told me that they cannot teach the students any form of therapy that would involve religious teachings if the program is to stay accredited.

In California, it is now against the law for parents to take their minor children who are confused about their sex or struggling with homosexuality to a counselor for help. These therapists are now in the Courts fighting for their First Amendment rights. I serve on their national task force and am following this disturbing trend closely.

Where is the fairness or protection to them in this bill?

In addition, putting this DSM definition into this bill removes not only fairness from the medical field, it ignores the integrity of medical science and ignores the conflict that exists between medical doctors and the DSM.

Solid medical science has proven DNA, which defines whether a person is a male or a female. While surgery can alter physical body parts, it cannot alter DNA. A person is born either male or female.

Yet Utah legislators are about to consider a proposal that undermines the integrity of medical science without hearing from respected doctors who disagree with that definition and who have longitudinal studies they have not been given time to present.

Putting this language into Utah law will leave the therapist or doctor on staff at a hospital unprotected and at risk of discrimination should they are forced to provide services they do not believe in religiously or ethically, as is already happening in California under similar laws.

4. Lines 681-685, P. 23: This bill appears to require employers to provide bathrooms, locker rooms and shower facilities specifically for the transgendered. Yet the bill has no fiscal note attached. We have no idea what the cost to taxpayers or employers will be, let alone how companies may have to increase their prices to the consumer to accommodate yet another building regulation. There has been no time to get this information to businesses that may be adversely affected.

For this reason alone, we ask for committee members – at the very least – to send SB 296 back to the Rules Committee for analysis.