As California Goes, So Go the Democrats

Photo credit: Hakan Dahlstrom via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)
Photo credit: Hakan Dahlstrom via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

As the United States approaches Election Day, social liberals lining up behind Hillary Clinton have begun to make their agenda clearer. And that agenda ought to make social conservatives, religious liberty advocates, and ordinary Americans very frightened.

Under President Obama, progressives have pushed law and policy regarding social issues further and further left. However, on a state level, Democrats have acted with even more radicalism. California offers several interesting examples of what the leftward march on social issues may entail in a potential Clinton administration.

In May, President Obama issued a directive to schools across the country on restroom access. The Departments of Justice and Education gave schools “guidelines” to ensure that transgender students may use the restroom that aligns with their gender self-identity. Eleven states have entered into a lawsuit in response to this expansion of executive power.

However, California Democrats have gone even further than President Obama in enforcing new sexual orthodoxies. Recently, the California legislature, dominated by Democrats and social liberals, passed SB1146, which proposed even stricter nondiscrimination laws on issues related to gender ideology. Shouting the battle-cry of “nondiscrimination,” LGBT activists could use this law to target Christian colleges in California because they cannot abide a religious school adhering to traditional convictions and teachings on sexual mores.

To take another example, in 2014, President Obama signed Executive Order 13672, which banned private contractors working with the government from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. If House Republicans had not taken action against this law, religious groups like the Salvation Army would have been barred from working with the federal government.

But yet again, California Democrats took their social liberalism a step farther. While President Obama’s executive order could present problems for religious groups, California laws deliberately attack freedom of conscience for religious groups. A gay couple in California filed a class-action lawsuit against the online dating service Christian Mingle, because the website did not accommodate same-sex relationships. Christian Mingle settled the case rather than challenge California law.

In Congress, Democrats have been steadfastly opposing any cuts to funding for Planned Parenthood, and have consistently fought tooth-and-nail to expand the organization’s funding. For instance, Senate Democrats blocked a $1.1 billion aid package combating the Zika virus because it did not allocate enough funding to Planned Parenthood.

California Democrats have taken even this doctrinal support for the country’s number one abortion provider to new heights. Planned Parenthood has also been fighting to ban undercover reporting in California. The proposed law, supported by many Democrats in California politics, has raised an alarm among journalists and pro-life activists alike. They are concerned that Planned Parenthood wants to effectively create insurmountable barriers to publication of any evidence that may cause a public scandal.

As if these assaults on freedom of conscience and an independent, unrestricted press have not gone far enough, the Left looks to undermine the foundational principle of American politics — rule of law.

One of the most controversial aspects of President Obama’s signature healthcare legislation was the Health and Human Services mandate requiring healthcare providers to cover contraception, even if the provider had religious objections to contraception. In a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down that element of the Affordable Care Act.

However, the government of California went even farther than the federal contraceptive mandate, and informed state health insurers that all health plans must include abortion coverage, even if the provider has religious objections to abortion. This measure clearly violates federal law. However, after ignoring grievances related to the mandate for two years, President Obama’s Department of Health and Human Services announced that they would take no action to address these concerns, undermining the Supreme Court and federal law.

The groups pushing for massive social change — from Planned Parenthood, to California Democrats, to the Obama White House — are not the fringes of the Democratic Party. This radicalism, in Washington and in Sacramento, is the mainstream of the Left.

Social liberals are important players in the Clinton coalition. With them, Hillary Clinton has ideologically committed to be an “agent of progress” in the White House, much like President Obama has been.

During her time in the Senate, Hillary Clinton was consistently ranked as one of the most liberal members. As Secretary of State, her tenure was no different — she used her position to advance the LGBT agenda.

Social liberals can tolerate no obstacles to their ideology. To enact a radical agenda, a Clinton Administration would follow in California’s footsteps, blatantly trampling on the letter of the law, the Bill of Rights, the US Constitution, and ordinary Americans’ sacred religious convictions.

Michael Lucchese works for the American Principles Project.