I was up in the wee hours after midnight Thursday when Daniel Horowitz’s tweet crossed my radar: The GOP-controlled House had just voted in the dead of night to write into law Obama’s executive order banning federal contractors who “discriminate” against transgendered individuals.
We all know now what that means: If you refuse to let anatomical males into your women’s dressing rooms, locker rooms, or bathrooms, you are just a bigoted hater, end of story.
Just ask Representative Zoe Lofgren (D., Calif.), who descended, Trumplike, to insults when challenged by a witness. “You’re a bigot, lady,” she said, wagging her finger disapprovingly at Gail Heriot, who is a law professor and member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.
Or ask the poor Queens bartender, or Brooklyn dry cleaner, who now faces massive fines for failing to adequately grasp how to address the 31 genders, beginning with “bi-gendered,” and including “cross-dresser, Drag King, Drag Queen, woman, man, butch,” and my personal favorite, “non-binary transgender androgyne.”
Given that the Obama administration, in the last few years, has unilaterally redefined prohibitions on sex discrimination throughout federal law to include LGBT individuals, the willingness of Republicans to step forward and positively reinforce his agenda with legislative action is pretty remarkable. As Horowitz wrote, it “would forever lay down the marker that Republicans are okay with making transgenderism a legitimate national religion codified into law.”
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Who are the 43 Republicans who actively sided with the Democrats so fully that they were willing to insert transgender protections in an unrelated bill?
Here is the list of the GOP 43:
Amash (Mich., third congressional district), Brooks, S. (Ind., 5), Coffman (Colo., 6), Costello (Penn., 6), Curbelo (Fla., ), Davis, R. (Ill., 13), Denham (Calif., 10), Dent (Penn., 15), Diaz-Balart (Fla., 25), Dold (Ill., 10), Donovan (N.Y., 11), Emmer (Minn., 6), Fitzpatrick (Penn., 8), Frelinghuysen (N.J., 11), Gibson (N.Y., 19), Heck (Nev., 3), Hurd (Texas, 23), Issa (Calif., 49), Jolly (Fla., 13), Katko (N.Y., 24), Kinzinger (Ill., 16), Lance (N.J., 7), LoBiondo (N.J., 2), MacArthur (N.J., 3), McSally (Ariz., 2), Meehan (Penn., 7), Messer (Ind., 6), Paulsen (Minn., 3), Poliquin (Maine, 2), Reed, (N.Y., 23), Reichert (Wash., 8), Renacci (Ohio, 16), Rooney (Fla., 17), Ros-Lehtinen (Fla., 27), Shimkus (Ill., 15), Stefanik (N.Y., 21), Upton (Mich., 6), Valadao (Calif., 21), Walden (Ore., 2), Walters (Calif., 45), Young, D. (Iowa, 3), Young, T. (Ind., 9), Zeldin (N.Y., 1).
#share#Tom Emmer was the Republican nominee for governor of Minnesota when a GOP-controlled state legislature elected to put the question of gay marriage to voters. Even though the state’s electorate actually approved gay marriage, Emmer lost his race, and was treated as a pariah in certain circles. Hamline University withdrew an offer to let him teach when faculty complained about his “bigotry.” Apparently he has learned his lesson. (I called Emmer’s office and asked for an explanation of his vote but have received no response.)
Michigan’s Justin Amash is (or was) a tea-party favorite, a fan of Ron and Rand Paul, the great next-gen hope of the Liberty Movement. I called Amash’s office to ask why he voted as he did. Jordan Bush, Amash’s district director, referred me to his boss’s Twitter account, where he wrote, “They are mischaracterizing the amdt. It simply prohibits discrimination by VA/military construction contractors in hiring.” In response to another question about his vote, Amash wrote, “Contrary to what some claim, this amendment preserves all existing religious liberty protections from the Bush administration,” leaving unanswered the question of whether refusing to let people with penises into women’s most private spaces is really discrimination or not.
Amash’s defection represents the problem with bending over backward to avoid the Left’s charges of hatred and discrimination on all things LGBT: It puts liberals in control of what the conservative movement can do and say on basic issues of human rights and human decency. If only one party is fighting, that party is going to win eventually.
But defeatism in the name of realism is no virtue, and it’s politically stupid, to boot.
In an April 25 news release, Public Policy Polling, the Democratic pollster, claimed in a headline, “HB2 Deeply Unpopular in North Carolina,” and confidently predicted that Governor Pat McCrory’s support for the now-famous bill may have “closed the door on any chance” he had of winning reelection. Instead, a new Civitas poll shows that McCrory has surged 9 points, to take a five-point lead in his campaign, a 15-point swing in just a month.
I went to bed last night astonished by the betrayal of so many House Republicans. I woke up to find that their conservative colleagues had come through, tanking the whole energy bill. For once, the GOP picked voters over donors. But will that continue?
The Democrats have taken a real but small problem — the question of how to afford transgendered people access to facilities they need — and elevated it into something huge: the principle that people with penises have a right to use the shower facilities of their choice no matter how uncomfortable or unsafe they make women feel, as a group of Oregon homeless women recently found out.
#related#The GOP 43 and others who urge conservatives to stand down on this issue are doing the opposite: taking that huge issue and attempting to make it into something small. Bathrooms? Who cares?
As Erika Bachiochi pointed out, at issue is not only women’s right to privacy — no girl should be forced to shower with anatomical males as the price of participating in school sports, for example — but whether democratic governance is even possible: “The gross misappropriation of executive power to utterly remake the meaning of very basic legal terms threatens not only the structure of our government. It threatens the rule of law itself.”
Limited government, liberty, privacy, decency, women’s equal protection in sports, democracy, and the rule of law: If you won’t stand up for these things, GOP 43, what use are you?
— Maggie Gallagher is the author of four books on marriage and a longtime contributor to National Review.
Editor’s Note: This piece has been amended since its original publication.