But, but judge: he’s not a woman. He’s a dude with a dress on…
A bill that passed the California state senate and is now moving through the Assembly could threaten jail time for anyone who refuses to use a transgender person’s preferred pronoun.
The law is currently limited in its effects to nursing homes and intermediate-care facilities, but if passed, those who “willfully and repeatedly” refuse “to use a transgender resident’s preferred name or pronouns” could be slapped with a $1,000 fine and up to one year in prison, according to the California Heath and Safety code. The state senate passed the bill 26-12 at the end of May. Since then, the Assembly Judiciary committee recommended the bill unanimously and the General Assembly held its first hearing on the legislation Wednesday.
“How can you believe in free speech, but think the government can compel people to use certain pronouns when talking to others?” Greg Burt of the California Family Council testified in July. “This is not tolerance. This is not love. This is not mutual respect. True tolerance tolerates people with different views. We need to treat each other with respect, but respect is a two-way street. It is not respectful to threaten people with punishment for having sincerely held beliefs that differ from your own.”
Titled the “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Long-Term Care Facility Residents Bill of Rights,” the legislation also requires nursing homes and care facilities to allow residents to use the bathroom of their choice, regardless of biological sex. The bill’s author, state Sen. Scott Weiner, argues that religious views don’t hold weight in public areas.
“Everyone is entitled to their religious view,” Weiner said. “But when you enter the public space, when you are running an institution, you are in a workplace, you are in a civil setting, and you have to follow the law.”