Poll: Voters Reject Democrats’ “Gender Identity” Agenda in This Swing State

Score another point for sanity.

A survey taken of voters in Arizona earlier this month shows that many Americans still have not bought into the idea that biology is completely irrelevant when it comes to bathrooms, locker rooms, showers, and other such public facilities.

According to the poll, just over half of respondents — 50.6 percent — said that individuals “should be required to use the restroom that matches their gender at birth.” Only 39.3 percent said that bathroom usage should be determined based off of how people “define their own gender.”

These results come amidst increasing opposition nationwide to the left’s radical “gender identity” agenda. Last week, a federal judge upheld a ruling against the Obama administration’s transgender school bathroom edict, preventing the president from enforcing a policy which would have forced schools across the country to allow students to use bathrooms, locker rooms, and showers and to participate on sports teams and in other sex-segregated activities based on their “internal sense of gender.”

We also reported here on The Pulse last week about recent developments in Massachusetts, where a number of churches have sued the state government over a law which would severely penalize houses of worship for failing to adhere to the new transgender ideology. Now, it’s possible that law could be voted down by statewide ballot in 2018.

And in North Carolina, ground-zero for the left’s bullying tactics, Gov. Pat McCrory’s odds of winning his race for reelection have greatly improved in the last couple weeks despite attempts by Democrats and the corporate-entertainment establishment to vilify him over his support for HB 2. Continue Reading

Mass. Churches Take State Government to Court over Controversial Transgender Law

Massachusetts State House entrance in Boston, Mass. (photo credit: Matt Kieffer via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0)

Last month, I wrote on a growing controversy in Massachusetts over new rules published by a state commission which seemed to suggest that churches would be punished if they did not conform to a recently passed transgender rights law:

As [the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination]’s guidance notes, all Massachusetts places of public accommodation will be prohibited, as of October 1, from “restrict[ing] a person from services because of that person’s gender identity”:

This means that a movie theater that has restrooms designated as “Men’s Restroom” and “Women’s Restroom” must allow its patrons to use the restroom which is consistent with their gender identity. A health club with locker rooms designated as male and female must grant all persons full enjoyment of the locker room consistent with their gender identity. A public swimming pool with changing rooms designated male and female must allow the public to use the changing room consistent with their gender identity.

And, most controversially, MCAD’s guidance asserts that “[e]ven a church could be seen as a place of public accommodation if it holds a secular event, such as a spaghetti supper, that is open to the general public.”

How will MCAD determine what constitutes a “secular event”? The guidance doesn’t say. But the fact that a Massachusetts governmental agency has appropriated to itself the power to determine what activities are and are not “religious” should give every American chills.

And that’s not all. Continue Reading

Will Churches in Massachusetts Be Forced to Comply with Transgenderism?

Massachusetts State House entrance in Boston, Mass. (photo credit: Matt Kieffer via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0)

Two months ago, a major controversy erupted in Iowa over religious liberty and “gender identity” when the state’s Civil Rights Commission put forward guidelines threatening churches which did not conform to the new transgender ideology. According to the Commission, all “non-religious activities” occurring at a church are subject to a new interpretation of Iowa’s Civil Rights Act, which includes a mandate that bathrooms and other public facilities be open to individuals based on their “gender identification” as well as a ban on conduct which would make “persons of any particular…gender identity” feel “unwelcome.”

While the Commission later slightly revised the guidelines in question, it has continued to defend its contention that churches are not fully exempt, a contention which is currently being challenged in federal court. Hearings for the case began last week.

And now, Iowa churches are no longer the only ones under attack. A new “Gender Identity Guidence” released last Thursday by the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD) also puts churches squarely in the crosshairs when it comes to implementing new transgender rules.

As MCAD’s guidance notes, all Massachusetts places of public accommodation will be prohibited, as of October 1, from “restrict[ing] a person from services because of that person’s gender identity”:

This means that a movie theater that has restrooms designated as “Men’s Restroom” and “Women’s Restroom” must allow its patrons to use the restroom which is consistent with their gender identity.

Continue Reading

Ten More States Sue Over Obama’s Transgender Edict — But One GOP Governor Surrenders

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (Photo credit: Dominick Reuter for WBUR via Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Last Friday brought good news and bad news in the gender-dysphoria wars. As we’ve come to expect in the education arena, though not without disappointment, the bad news arrived at the hands of a supposed Republican.

The glad tidings were that 10 states have joined the original 13 in challenging the Obama administration’s unlawful “guidance” requiring schools to open up restrooms, locker rooms, overnight sleeping accommodations, and probably sports teams to all students of either sex. The administration’s theory is that when Congress passed Title IX of the Civil Rights Act 42 years ago to protect girls’ interests in federally funded education programs, it actually intended to limit their opportunities and even endanger their privacy and safety.

A total of 23 states have now officially and legally declared this theory to be absurd. Ten states — Arkansas, Kansas, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Wyoming — sued Friday in federal court in Nebraska to stop the administration from penalizing states, districts, or schools that refuse to buckle to its new mandate. The original states to sue were Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Now the bad news. Also on Friday, Republican Governor Charlie Baker of Massachusetts signed a bill adding the phrase “gender identity” to the state’s anti-discrimination laws. This means all public accommodations (including schools) must open up private spaces such as restrooms and showers to members of either sex. Continue Reading

Massachusetts Court Thwarts Parent-Led Effort to Put Common Core on Ballot

Massachusetts State House entrance in Boston, Mass. (photo credit: Matt Kieffer via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0)

Last week the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) threw out an initiative petition signed by over 130,000 Massachusetts citizens to challenge the adoption and implementation of the Common Core national standards and assessments scheme in Massachusetts. The petitioners sought to overturn the decision of the Massachusetts education establishment to ditch the state’s stellar K-12 standards in exchange for $250 million in federal money. After the petitioners gathered the signatures necessary to place the question on the ballot, the state attorney general certified the petition and cleared the way, finally, for citizens to vote on the usurpation of the state’s education system.

The SJC thwarted this citizen-empowerment effort based not on the substantive issues presented by the petition, but rather on the technical question whether the different provisions of the petition were sufficiently “related” to satisfy the statute governing such initiatives. The opinion was written by Justice Margot Botsford, who was appointed to the court by the governor (Deval Patrick) who brought Common Core to Massachusetts.

Regardless of technicalities, the most significant — and depressing — aspect of this case is that the powerful interests behind Common Core were able to crush a citizens’ revolt against the scheme. Money apparently was no obstacle to the ten individual plaintiffs who sued to derail the petition. The law firm representing them, Foley Hoag, is a silk-stocking firm that doesn’t come cheap, but the towering legal bills didn’t seem to be a problem. Continue Reading

Will Massachusetts Parents Reject Common Core at the Ballot Box?

Photo credit: Tom Arthur via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

When the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) adopted the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in 2010, many questioned the logic behind that decision. Considering that Massachusetts had a history of outperforming every other state on the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP), the SAT, and international tests in math and English, it had a lot to lose by abandoning its proven system of standards and assessments.

Five years later, that decision has cost Massachusetts quite a bit: The state’s SAT scores are the lowest in over a decade in every subject and elementary students’ performance on NAEP has declined.

At this point, BESE should be conceding defeat on Common Core and calling for a return to the state’s previous standards, but that hasn’t happened. As bureaucrats often do, they are sticking by their bad decision. As School Reform News points out, BESE’s only attempt to placate the angry teachers and parents who have called for a full repeal of the standards was to rebrand the Common Core-aligned PARCC test with a state-developed model:

Media outlets inaccurately reported the state’s Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) voted to scrap Common Core-aligned testing. What BESE voted for was a hybrid test combining Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) questions aligned with Common Core and other questions created by the state.

The new test set for release in 2017 will be called the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS), or MCAS 2.0. Continue Reading