Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Around The Nation

Newly signed laws offering protection for Transgender students and banning ex-gay therapy draw challenges from opponents 
By Brody Levesque | A pair of separate measures, one signed into law by California Governor Jerry Brown, (D) last week offering protection for the state's transgender students and another measure signed Monday by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, (R) have opponents filing legal suits.
Attorney's for Liberty Counsel are intending to mount legal challenges to have federal courts issue an injunction to block the law in New Jersey as the legal actions move forward and in California conservative legal group, The Pacific Justice Institute, has begun soliciting plaintiffs for a prospective lawsuit to be filed next year, when the new transgender rights bill formally takes effect..
Brown signed a law, which goes into effect on January 1, 2014, last week which requires that California public schools respect students’ gender identity and makes sure that students can fully participate in all school activities, sports teams, programs, and facilities that match their gender identity.
Critics charge that allowing students of one gender to use facilities intended for the other could invade the other students’ privacy. 
“We respect that some students are struggling with their own sexual identity, but we ask for respect for the other students who will be humiliated when a boy walks into the girl’s locker room,” said Karen England, executive director of Capitol Resource Institute. ”This is a privacy issue, a safety issue, and a common sense issue.”
Equality California's executive director John O'Connor, speaking about the proposed referendum said;
 "This is a predictable move by fringe groups that oppose all pro-equality measures and that historically have lacked the capacity to successfully execute similar efforts. AB1266 is an historic civil rights bill ensuring all students have the opportunity to participate and succeed in schools, including transgender students. EQCA and our partners will remain vigilant about monitoring the situation."
The new law is the first of its kind in the country and it is unclear how school districts will withstand likely legal challenges.
In New Jersey Governor Christie signed a bill Monday barring licensed therapists from trying to turn gay teenagers straight, making New Jersey the second state to ban so-called conversion therapy, along with California.
The bill passed both houses of the Legislature with bipartisan support in June. Assemblyman Tim Eustace, D-Bergen, who sponsored the bill and is openly gay, described the therapy as “an insidious form of child abuse.”
In a note accompanying the bill, Christie said he believes people are born gay and that homosexuality is not a sin.
Matt Barber, Vice President of Liberty Counsel Action, which has vowed to launch legal action in U.S. District Court to block the measure told LGBTQ Nation in an email;
“It’s unconscionable that Gov. Christie would sign this politically-motivated attack on New Jersey children and parents into law. He’s just torpedoed any chance he had at the White House in 2016.
“The connection between homosexual abuse and ‘gay identity’ is undeniable. This law would enslave children to an identity that they reject. Talk about depression and risk of suicide. This law means that if a girl or boy begins to experience unwanted same-sex attraction as a result of sexual molestation by the likes of a Jerry Sandusky, a counselor is legally prohibited from helping them resolve their unwanted attractions and reconcile those attractions with their values. They must, instead, affirm that the child victim is now ‘gay’ and tell them to just live with it.
“This isn’t George Washington’s America. This is Joseph Stalin’s Russia.”