Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Montgomery County Voters Disenfranchised - A Follow-Up

As my readers know, a law was rammed through the Montgomery County Council regarding gender identity. One of the problems with this law, is that there was no provision for religious institutions. They would be required to hire those who “felt that they were a woman or a man.” They would have to put up with those who decided since they felt like a woman, to use the woman’s restrooms.

The opposition has disenfranchised over a million voters by not allowing this bill to be put to a vote. They keep telling us that they were confident that the people of Montgomery County would not strike down this law, and yet, they spend thousands upon thousands of dollars to fight it in court.

On Sunday, Sept. 28th, a Mr. Robert Nelson had a fantastic piece published in the Washington Post (can you believe it!). Here it is a part of the piece:

The Sept. 15 Metro article "Ruling Inspires
New Hope for Transgender People," about the Maryland Court of Appeals' rejection of a petition drive to hold a referendum on Montgomery County's poorly constructed transgender anti-discrimination law, unfortunately omitted some of the significant objections to the law that have been raised by residents.

First, the "transgender" discrimination law never actually uses the word "transgender." It includes a broad definition of "gender identity" that lacks qualification or exemptions and that has caused many residents, business owners and religious leaders to speak out about the bill's defects. The county did extensive research on similar but quite different gender identity and gender expression bills from communities across the country, but the County Council needed to look no further than the city of Baltimore, the only other jurisdiction in Maryland with such a "gender identity" law.

Baltimore's definition of discrimination includes five exemptions that would have protected Montgomery County residents, but the County Council chose not to include them in its bill. Thousands of people wrote to the council voicing concerns, but the council ignored them. Thus residents had no recourse but to mount a petition drive.

The process of collecting petition signatures was proper and should not have been invalidated. In November, the Board of Elections determined that signatures from 5 percent of the active registered voters would be required to place a referendum on the bill on the ballot. That was fair, because including inactive voters would not be appropriate. Most of them are inactive for a reason -- they're not available. The Board of Elections validated signatures that were collected from 5.36 percent of active voters. It is grossly unfair to now contend that the petitions needed to include signatures from 5 percent of all registered voters, active and inactive.

Regrettably, council member Duchy Trachtenberg (D-At Large) has taken this occasion to post inflammatory accusations on the county's Web site and to attempt to marginalize residents who take a different view from her own. Her Sept. 9 press release contained inaccuracies and distortions; it should be removed from the county's Web site immediately.

For example, in June I led a freedom-of-speech gathering outside an Equality Maryland gala. In her news release, Trachtenberg called my fellow demonstrators and me "anti-LGBT" and said we were holding signs "attacking all of us." I personally produced those signs, and they were not hateful. Two signs questioned why Equality Maryland was challenging the democratic process by suing the Board of Elections. Another sign thanked Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler, who was attending the gala, for having his office file a friend-of-the-court brief supporting the Board of Elections in Equality Maryland's lawsuit.

And to make matters worse, the Archdiocese of Washington DC stood silently while this all happened.


Zoe Brain said...

I think it astonishing that Christians - or those claiming to be Christians - want the right to prevent a group from entering or making use of:

(1) restaurants, soda fountains, and other eating or drinking places, and all places where food is sold for consumption either on or off the premises;
(2) inns, hotels, and motels, whether serving temporary or permanent patrons;
(3) retail stores and service establishments;
(4) hospitals and clinics;
(5) motion picture, stage, and other theaters and music, concert, or meeting halls;
(6) circuses, exhibitions, skating rinks, sports arenas and fields, amusement or recreation parks, picnic grounds, fairs, bowling alleys, golf courses,
gymnasiums, shooting galleries, billiard and pool rooms, and swimming pools;
(7) public conveyances, such as automobiles, buses, taxicabs, trolleys, trains, limousines, boats, airplanes, and bicycles;
(8) utilities, such as water and sewer service, electricity, telephone, and cable television;
(9) streets, roads, sidewalks, other public rights-of-way, parking lots or garages, marinas, airports, and hangars; and
(10) places of public assembly and entertainment of every kind.

That was what the bill stated. It is modelled exactly on the wording of some dozens of similar laws throughout the country, and has substantially similar wording to over 50 others.

Any religion which requires such persecution of some with congenital medical conditions is in my view, completely incompatible with Christian teaching. It's even incompatible if it only persecutes some sinners, while ignoring others.

The final straw was arguing on one hand that signatures from inactive voters - a substantial proportion of the petition - should be counted towards the total gained, but not counted as part of the total required, which is the law.

Ignoring inconvenient laws is not allowed.

Dr Kimberly Hyatt-Wallace said...

It is sad to see a major religion support the taking away of civil rights from any minority group under the guise of voter disenfranchisement
Had this same ruler been applied to women we could not vote, or to black, maybe you would have supported slavery? The idea of equal rights seems to frighten you, and I can' imagine why. It is wrong to try and take away the civil rights of one group because someone might be offended by the minority..sorry but you are on the wrong side here, and will have a hard time explaining this to your maker.

Zoe Brain said...

Note that comments are moderated.

Before judging the views expressed in the original article too harshly, Kudos should be given to the blog author for allowing the publication of differing views.

Commenters on blogs are guests, with no automatic right of reply. It says much to the author's credit that my strongly dissenting views were allowed to be heard.

I wish everyone showed the same intellectual integrity as the blog author, and hope to match the high standard he's set.

Thanks are in order. So given.

Anonymous said...

I find it interesting that when they were collecting signatures, the reason was to keep perverted molesters out of the bathrooms and now it is because of no religious exemptions.

Zoe Brain said...

"Heil Hitler!" Adol T. Owen-Williams II, a Montgomery County Republican Central Committee member, shouted immediately after the vote from his third-row seat in the council chamber. "Wait until little girls start showing up dead all over the county because of freaks of nature."
(The Gazette, 11/14/2007, p.A25)

Let's just say they were economical with the truth, and rather more generous with the calumnies. Pharisees, basically.

tina_SD said...

Once again the truth of the matter is revealed-

Christians and other religionists who demand the right to discriminate against others based on their religious views do so based on legal protections for those views that essentially make anyone simply *claiming* a religious imperative to do so a member of a protected class- a perfect example of giving people *special rights*, based on a 100% chosen and wholly mutable behavior.

Now where have I heard that before....?

This law, by this author's own admission, never mentions "transgender" people...for a very good reason, because it protects EVERYONE who might be refused accommodations, jobs, housing, etc. based on someone else's perception of what sex they are or how they should look according to rigid gender stereotypes.

That means that it protects 100% female persons who are naturally tall and mannish looking, who might be perceived by others as being a male to female transsexual when they aren't, small men with delicate features who are routinely accused of being freaks and trannies regardless of their actual sex, surgical status or sexual preferences, and androgynous people of all sexes (some born intersexed, the way God made them) who are treated with suspicion and are the brunt of harassment and violence, all because of their looks.

These people aren't TS/TG, but because they share some physical features with people who are, their reality is in many ways the same.

To refuse to acknowledge this fact and allow this kind of wholly undeserved discrimination to go on- even if you think that truly TS/TG people deserve that discrimination- is as un-Christian and vile an attitude as I can think of....where did Jesus say that we should judge people based on their looks?

This law and others like it protects everyone, not just transgender people- the same way that laws protecting religious views and worship don't specify members of any particular religion.

terry said...

Please recall the teachings of Jesus Christ and reconsider your support of this position!
Regards, Terry

Anonymous said...

Jesus loved lepers, murderers, prostitutes, jews and gentiles alike. And, he directed us to love one another equally, including our enemies. I doubt a man in a dress would have caused Him much concern.