SB 1306 Hearing Ignored Citizen Interests — The Aug. 30 hearing concerning SB 1306 before the Pennsylvania Senate Labor & Industry Committee accepted testimony from many “social justice” advocates seeking a Godless society who supported the proposed law along with testimony from religious opponents to it.
No testimony, however, was taken from school directors or administrators, law enforcement personnel or small business owners who would bear the consequences of this thing if it should pass.
The bill defines sexual orientation” as “heterosexuality, homosexuality or bisexuality” and “gender identity or expression” as “the gender-related identity, appearance, mannerisms, expression or other gender-related characteristics of an individual regardless of the individual’s designated sex at birth.”
It would prohibit discrimination in housing, public accommodations and employment against those who define themselves as such.
At the hearing, no testimony was taken regarding bathrooms and housing as those running the hearing insisted it be related solely to business. The senators, however, seemed unable to comprehend that businesses have rest facilities for their employees which are divided by sex.
The wording of the bill clearly indicates that it applies to public accommodations i.e. public restrooms and locker rooms, and housing.
This means that if a woman has to use an interstate rest stop and a guy in a dress follows her in, nobody can stop him.
It means female high school athletes will have to compete with — and share locker rooms with — boys who decide to “express” themselves as females.
It means that a female college student will be forced to share dorm rooms with males calling themselves women.
It means that small business owners will have to walk on eggshells terminating a troublesome employee who decides to start “expressing” him or herself as the opposite sex.
It is a bad, unnecessary bill but the powers-that-be in the state are pushing hard to turn it into law.
Is it a surprise? They backed Graham Spanier and his activities at Penn State for 16 years.
Toilet, roommate and other privacy issues would be addressed at future hearings the senators said.
Penn Delco School Director Lisa Esler submitted testimony but was not invited to speak.
Here’s what she would have said:
My name is Lisa Esler. I am a school board director in Penn Delco School District. As school board directors, we are responsible for approving hires and budgets as well as creating and adopting policies that best represent our district and promote the safety and well-being of our students. State policies and laws that are created and must be enforced by the local district often have unintended consequences that may be overlooked by state level officials making these decisions. I would like the opportunity to shed light on some of the unintended consequences changing the current discrimination laws for employment would have as it relates to a school district and how it would limit our ability to act in the best interest of our district and students.
Once you declare a group of people protected under employment discrimination laws, you must give them access and privileges associated with these protections as you would anyone currently listed under the law. This includes dress code and access to facilities in that district. If SB 1306 is signed into law, school districts will have no recourse but to follow the law. This becomes a significant problem for a school district since we employ many professions including lifeguards, coaches and teachers.
As an employer, school districts ensure dress codes are non-discriminatory and employees comply with sex-specific dress codes according to their gender in the capacity of their job description. A female who now identifies as a male, such as a lifeguard or swim coach, will now be able to wear a male swim suit and use the male changing facility. A male coach, who identifies as a female, will be able to enter the women’s changing area with female athletes. Either we should treat people as they think they are, or we should treat them as biology reveals them to be. It makes no sense to do one sometimes and the other at other times.
Mandating employment policies based on gender identity or expression will undermine and limit common sense school policies and prohibit schools from making decisions about employees.This bill will create a subjective protected class that will expose school districts to unwarranted liability. It will overrule custom, culture, and the very demands inherent in human nature for privacy and safety, particularly the right for children in a school setting.
While issues of sex and gender identity are psychologically, morally, and politically controversial, all should agree that children should be protected from having to sort through such questions before they reach an appropriate age as determined by their parents. SB 1306 would prevent schools and parents from protecting children from these adult debates about sex and gender identity by forcing employers, including schools, to yield to the desires of employees in ways that put them in the spotlight. Children would be prematurely exposed to questions about sex and gender if, for example, a male teacher returned to school identifying as a woman. These situations are best handled at the local level, by the parents and teachers closest to the children.
Children, especially teens, love to test the boundaries set by adults. How do we justify these protections for those in a position as a role model and authority and not extend the same privileges and protections to all students?
If SB 1306 were to pass, it would leave school districts to deal with unlimited liability issues as well as other serious unintended consequences.For these reasons, I ask that you vote no on SB1306. Thank you for the opportunity to share my concerns.