America’s largest city will fine employers and landlords within city limits up to $250,000 for refusing to refer to a “transgender” person by the “correct” pronoun — “ze” or “hir” — according to the Human Rights Commission of New York City.
City officials are reportedly taking “civil rights” to a whole new level.
“The New York City Commission on Human Rights’ ‘Guidance on Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Expression’ interprets existing human rights laws against discrimination based on gender to include gender expression, defined as ‘actual or perceived sex and shall also include a person’s gender identity, self-image, appearance, behavior or expression’ — regardless of someone’s biological sex,” LifeSiteNews reports.
The so-called preventative measures are being used to provide guidance that will widen prohibitions from just keeping landlords from not renting to women … to the new ones that now don’t allow them to rent to women who proclaim themselves to be men — regardless of their appearance.
But the “guidance” given to employers and landlords in the Big Apple doesn’t stop there.
“[Additions to the list of offences include] intentional or repeated refusal to use an individual’s preferred name, pronoun or title,” the official wording from the guidance reads. “For example, repeatedly calling a transgender woman ‘him’ or ‘Mr.’ after she has made clear which pronouns and title she uses.”
A fine of up to $250,000 can be charged If the “offence” against “transgenders” is considered to be “the result of willful, wanton or malicious conduct.” Otherwise, a maximum fine of $125,000 will be assessed for any such “human rights” violation(s). Many anticipated these steep penalties after officials in New York City recently initiated America’s most harsh enforcement of “transgender rights.”
Unconstitutional transgender protections?
According to some experts in the legal field, New York City’s aggressive special protections for transgenders violate free speech provisions guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution — to the extent that they would force restaurant owners to be accountable for their employees’ speech … as well as for the speech of their customers.
A specialist in the First Amendment at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Law, Eugene Volokh, argues that New York City’s transgender protections are absurd — in that they severely restrict New Yorkers’ freedom.
“You can be fined for not calling people ‘ze’ or ‘hir’ — if that’s the pronoun they demand that you use,” Volokh stressed in a headline leading into his take on the issue. “People can basically force us — on pain of massive legal liability — to say what they want us to say, whether or not we want to endorse the political message associated with that term — and whether or not we think it’s a lie.”
The legal scholar from Southern California contends that because a completely subjective method is used by which a person selects his or her own transgender pronoun, individuals could essentially choose designations such as “Milord” or “Your Holiness” — honorifics that are used for Anglican bishops and Catholic popes. The only difference is that the use of the transgender pronouns are compelled, whereas using the religious designations for clergy is a matter of choice and not forced upon anyone.
Volokh takes his argument further by noting that — unlike the aforementioned religious leaders — transgenders can claim LGBT-approved pronouns as their own and then take anyone who refuses to use their preferred designations to the Human Rights Commission of New York City.
“They may look like non-gender-related titles, but who’s to say?” the legal expert from UCLA pondered. “What if someone decides that one of the 56 genders is indeed especially noble or holy?”
South Texas College of Law Professor Josh Blackman, who specializes in religious freedom, insists that the “guidance” authored by New York City officials is nothing less than “compelled speech” — a direct violation of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution that guarantees all Americans free speech and the freedom of religion.
“[It is believed by many that gender is not negotiable, but rather] is defined by what genitalia and chromosomes a person has at birth,” Blackman maintains. “Perhaps to the staff at the NYC Commission on Human Rights … such an idea is absolutely outlandish and contrary to every scientific consensus — on par with a geocentric model of the universe. But that is legally irrelevant.”