In a deeply concerning decision, a federal judge ruled that the distress someone may feel due to gender dysphoria is to be considered a disability that must be accommodated under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Williams v. Kincaid involved an imprisoned male who identifies as a female in Fairfax County, Virginia. The man wanted to be housed with the female inmates, but the prison’s policy states that “male inmates shall be classified as such if they have male genitals,” and “female inmates shall be classified as such if they have female genitals.”
The ADA itself explicitly excludes:
“(a) Homosexuality and bisexuality
For purposes of the definition of “disability” in section 12102(2)? of this title, homosexuality and bisexuality are not impairments and as such are not disabilities under this chapter.”
Therefore, the court was tasked with overcoming a major hurdle to reach their illogical conclusion. Still, the majority opinion argued that gender dysphoria was not actually a gender identity disorder. “A close parallel to their logic would be that trucks are not sedans, and therefore a ‘no cars allowed’ sign does not apply to them,” writes Joshua Arnold of the Daily Signal. This case is an excellent example of why interpretation of the law based on the original meaning of the words is so important.
In a much more reasonable dissent, Judge A. Marvin Quattlebaum asserted that the case was really a matter of statutory construction, and that the law’s text does not support the majority opinion. He wrote that “…linguistic drift cannot alter the meaning of words in the ADA when it was enacted. And at that time, the meaning of gender identity disorders included gender dysphoria as alleged by Williams … Under basic principles of statutory construction, Williams’ ADA claim should be dismissed … [W]hen the ADA was signed into law, gender identity disorder was understood to include what Williams alleges to be gender dysphoria.”
The ADA prohibits discrimination against disabled individuals in all areas of public life, including employment, education, transportation, and in public places. This means that if the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision is left to stand, anyone who identifies as transgender would be eligible to receive public accommodations in bathrooms, locker rooms, prisons, same-sex housing, and more. This clearly opens the door for abuse of the law and infringements upon religious liberty and privacy rights.
For example, religious institutions could be forced to hire individuals who do not share their respect for natural law and God’s design. Further, women could be forced to share bathrooms and locker rooms with biological men, which we’ve already seen has disastrous consequences.
While this ruling only directly covers states within the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, the laws and ideas found within other states can certainly make their way to Wisconsin. We need to be aware of these ideas and refute them before they reach our communities.
Our rights and liberties are more important than an individual’s feelings (and individuals suffering from gender dysphoria need true help, not harmful “affirmation”), and the way that our public institutions are run needs to reflect biological realities.
On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a major win in Carson v. Makin in a ruling that says the state of Maine cannot bar parents from using state funds to send their children to a religious school.
In 2018, parents sued Maine after it banned families from sending their children to private schools using state tuition assistance.
In the majority opinion, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote that “a neutral benefit program in which public funds flow to religious organizations through the independent choices of private benefit recipients does not offend the Establishment Clause.”
The high court’s decision reverses the decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.
This is excellent news for school choice and religious liberty throughout the country. Parents should never be prevented from directing their children’s education and sending them to whichever school best suits their needs.
School choice is really educational freedom and is a parent’s right and should not be determined by the state. Every child is different, and we should let parents, who know their children best, decide where to send them to school.
Wisconsin is currently a national leader in school choice. Parents can choose the public school in the district where they live, or they can opt for open enrollment and enroll in a school in a different district, with some exceptions. Charter schools and virtual charter schools are also included under the public-school umbrella.
Wisconsin also offers the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program, the Racine Parental Choice Program, and the Wisconsin Parental Choice Program—all of which are part of the “voucher school” option. These programs allow income-qualified families to send their children to private schools participating in Choice (voucher) Programs. Parents can apply to be part of a school choice program.
This voucher program, which was first-in-the-nation, years ago went to the WI Supreme Court over allowing religious schools and received a favorable decision. At the time of the court case, only the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program was in place.
The decision to expand the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program to include private religious schools “places on equal footing options of public and private school choice and vests power in the hands of parents to choose where to direct the funds allocated for their children’s benefit,” wrote Justice Donald Steinmetz in the majority opinion.
Wisconsin also has some of the best homeschooling laws in the country. Parents are encouraged to homeschool and are not burdened by overbearing restrictions as they are in some states.
While Wisconsin is leading the nation in educational opportunities, we have more to do. We need universal choice in Wisconsin. Incomes and zip codes should not determine who gets to take advantage of our educational options. However, our current governor is no fan of school choice.
We are currently in an election cycle, and this fall we have the opportunity to hold Gov. Evers accountable and elect leaders who will uphold parents’ right to school choice.