Parents face transgender rules
I've spent a lot of time in Massachusetts. My wife grew up there and, for many years, we continued her family's tradition of vacationing on Cape Cod. There are many things I enjoy about Massachusetts, not least of which is its place in American history. We love visiting Plymouth and driving down old Route 6 on the Cape.
The state is nicknamed "Taxachusetts" for obvious reasons; it makes the list of the Top 10 most expensive states to live in. Massachusetts is well-known as the home of the Kennedy family and as an unremitting bastion for liberal politics. Shock waves rippled through the country when Republican Scott Brown won the Senate seat in 2010 to finish the term of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy. Brown was the first Republican elected to the U.S. Senate from Massachusetts since 1972. Residents of this state have increasingly grown weary of many of the effects of its extreme left politics.
In 2003, against the will of a majority of citizens, a handful of justices in Massachusetts ruled that the state Constitution guarantees equal marriage rights for same-sex couples. The following year marriages of same-sex couples began.
The effects of this decision have reached into many areas of public life. Although gay couples often say they only want the same rights as heterosexuals and that they have no desire to impose their views on others, Massachusetts proves otherwise. Don't fall for this appeal to sympathy and privacy.
Citizens of Massachusetts are learning just how far-reaching the high court's decision extends.
The reach goes to public schools, hospitals, businesses, adoption agencies, growing government mandates and harassment of those who disagree with gay marriage.
Each step is logically built on the legalization of gay marriage. Once approved, it's hard to make a case against other legislative mandates consistent with equal rights and nondiscrimination.
Parents in Massachusetts now face new public school rules that allow transgender students to use restrooms and locker rooms of their choice and punish students who refuse to affirm or support transgender classmates.
"If sexual difference is irrelevant to marriage, then how can it be relevant to any practices?'' asked author Joe Carter, editor for The Gospel Coalition. "Once the state has determined that sexual difference is no longer a legitimate reason to extend special recognition to man-woman monogamy, there is no reason in principle to maintain sexual distinctions in less intimate practices.
"If one's anatomical reality isn't relevant to one's marriage, it's even less obvious why it should be relevant to one's bathroom choice. ... The issue now is not whether other states will adopt Massachusetts laws against gender identity discrimination, but when they will be adopted," wrote Carter, who is also senior editor at the Acton Institute.
The new rules appear in the Massachusetts Department of Elementary & Secondary Education guidance for the state's public schools, "Creating a Safe and Supportive School Environment."
The document emphasizes responsibility for determining a student's gender identity rests with the student. It also de-emphasizes involvement from parents.
Consider the example provided in the document: "In one Massachusetts town, the parents of a preschool-age biologically female child noted throughout the child's early years that their child identified as a boy. For as long as the parents could remember, the child preferred to play with boys rather than girls, wanted a short haircut, rejected wearing any clothing that the child identified as 'something a girl would wear,' and ignored anyone who called him by his stereotypically feminine name. When it was time for the child to enter kindergarten, the child said to his parents, 'You have to tell them when I go to kindergarten that I'm a boy.' ''
Most ironically, counseling will be provided for students who are uncomfortable with integrating transgender students into locker rooms and bathrooms.
Massachusetts serves as a wake-up call to concerned parents. There is a radical agenda in motion and those promoting it will gladly trample on the freedoms of anyone who dares to disagree. What should the citizens of Pennsylvania learn from this?
Steven W. Cornell is senior pastor at Millersville Bible Church. He is also a correspondent for Lancaster Newspapers Inc. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.