The showdown in Houston, Texas of recent weeks – over efforts by city officials to subpoena the communications (including sermons and private emails between congregants) of five local pastors whom officials blame for inspiring opposition to their recent public bathroom law – is drawing wider national attention to the implications of that law and others like it.
More specifically, it has people wondering what giving members of both sexes open access to the other gender’s bathrooms will mean for men, women, and especially children impacted by such laws.
It’s a growing problem, as witness the fact that Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys recently had to send letters to school districts in three different states – Minnesota, Wisconsin and Rhode Island – urging administrators to reject new rules requiring schools to give children – yes, children – of both genders free access to each others’ bathrooms.
The ADF letters explain that, contrary to what some mistakenly believe, no federal law requires public schools to allow boys into girls’ restrooms or girls into boys’ restrooms. In fact, by opening all bathrooms to both sexes, school officials could be opening themselves to legal liability for violating students’ privacy rights and placing children in potentially unsafe conditions. The letters also offer the districts an alternate policy that addresses the concerns which prompted the problematic policies but don’t require sharing bathrooms and locker rooms.
“Schools can accommodate a small number of students that have different needs without compromising the rights of other children and their parents,” says ADF Senior Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco. “No child should be forced into an intimate setting – like a bathroom or a locker room – with a child of the opposite sex. Our model policy provides a solution without exposing schools to liability and children to threats to their privacy and safety.”
The Minnesota letter makes special mention of the fact that athletic associations which include private, religious schools as members have no authority to violate the constitutionally protected religious freedom of those schools by demanding they adhere to these “free access” policies.
For many Americans, the very idea that these kinds of legal challenges are upon us is hard to fathom. The privacy and safety implications of giving people of the opposite sex ready access to a gender-designated public bathroom – a place in which individuals feel particularly vulnerable and isolated – are so obvious as to hardly need elaboration.
And the fact that those pressing this activist agenda are willing to sacrifice the vast majority of women’s and children’s’ rights and dignity to satisfy it speaks volumes about the self-absorption and single-minded intent of that agenda.
The overwhelming response of the people of Houston against the free access public bathroom policy steamrolled into law by that city’s leaders – and the determination of those leaders to ignore their clear legal obligation to put the issue to a public vote – are a clear indication of where this conflict is heading, for schools and cities all over America.
Please be in prayer for our clients, and for ADF attorneys, as they move to get in front of this issue, and for the men, women, and particularly youngsters – like your children and grandchildren – already endangered by these laws nationwide.