Don’t Let Anti-Discrimination Laws Become a Weapon against Religious Liberty and Common Sense

Aug. 21 2018

One night in January, a man, dressed in a nightgown, injured and inebriated, arrived at a church-affiliated women’s shelter in Anchorage, Alaska and asked to be let in for the night. The shelter’s director refused, but gave him money for a taxi to the hospital. He returned the next morning and was again turned away—in part because he arrived before regular admitting hours and in part because, although he is a transsexual who identifies as a woman and goes by the name Samantha Coyle, it is the shelter’s policy not to let biological men spend the night. Thereafter Coyle filed a complaint with the Anchorage Equal Rights Commission, which, over objections from the shelter’s lawyer that the shelter was protected on religious-liberty grounds, decided to proceed with the investigation. Aylana Meisel and Howard Slugh write:

If this case alone wasn’t disturbing enough, the Anchorage Equal Rights Commission sued [the shelter’s] lawyer after he made comments to a local reporter defending the shelter. According to the commission, publicizing the facts of the case also violated the anti-discrimination law. And so the commission’s fervor also led it to abandon the First Amendment.

The [shelter] acted not out of animus toward the transgendered: it was simply protecting the women sheltered there. The shelter does not discriminate against transsexuals. Biological women are allowed admittance even if they identify as men. Such women have slept at the shelter without incident. The shelter even tries to accommodate biological men to the extent it can do so without jeopardizing its core mission of helping vulnerable women. The shelter has previously offered Coyle himself services, serving him meals and allowing him to shower by himself—he simply could not sleep there.

It is almost certainly true that most supporters of Anchorage’s anti-discrimination statute had good intentions. . . . Most of the statute’s proponents probably believed that it would prevent restaurants from turning prospective customers away because of issues related to their sex or “gender identity.” . . . They almost certainly did not imagine a situation in which it would be used to allow a drunken biological man, with a history of violent criminal behavior, to sleep next to women who had escaped abusive homes and sex-trafficking. . . .

A person can support respect and tolerance for transsexuals while also considering it ludicrous to force [a women’s shelter] to allow a biological male to sleep next to battered women. It is well past time to restore sanity to anti-discrimination law, and the Anchorage Commission can begin by dismissing Coyle’s claim.

Read more at National Review

More about: Discrimination, Freedom of Religion, Freedom of Speech, Politics & Current Affairs, Transsexuals


The Right and Wrong Ways for the U.S. to Support the Palestinians

Sept. 29 2023

On Wednesday, Elliott Abrams testified before Congress about the Taylor Force Act, passed in 2018 to withhold U.S. funds from the Palestinian Authority (PA) so long as it continues to reward terrorists and their families with cash. Abrams cites several factors explaining the sharp increase in Palestinian terrorism this year, among them Iran’s attempt to wage proxy war on Israel; another is the “Palestinian Authority’s continuing refusal to fight terrorism.” (Video is available at the link below.)

As long as the “pay for slay” system continues, the message to Palestinians is that terrorists should be honored and rewarded. And indeed year after year, the PA honors individuals who have committed acts of terror by naming plazas or schools after them or announcing what heroes they are or were.

There are clear alternatives to “pay to slay.” It would be reasonable for the PA to say that, whatever the crime committed, the criminal’s family and children should not suffer for it. The PA could have implemented a welfare-based system, a system of family allowances based on the number of children—as one example. It has steadfastly refused to do so, precisely because such a system would no longer honor and reward terrorists based on the seriousness of their crimes.

These efforts, like the act itself, are not at all meant to diminish assistance to the Palestinian people. Rather, they are efforts to direct aid to the Palestinian people rather than to convicted terrorists. . . . [T]he Taylor Force Act does not stop U.S. assistance to Palestinians, but keeps it out of hands in the PA that are channels for paying rewards for terror.

[S]hould the United States continue to aid the Palestinian security forces? My answer is yes, and I note that it is also the answer of Israel and Jordan. As I’ve noted, PA efforts against Hamas or other groups may be self-interested—fights among rivals, not principled fights against terrorism. Yet they can have the same effect of lessening the Iranian-backed terrorism committed by Palestinian groups that Iran supports.

Read more at Council on Foreign Relations

More about: Palestinian Authority, Palestinian terror, U.S. Foreign policy