Franklin Graham, who serves as the chief of the worldwide Samaritan’s Purse Christian ministry, is praising a court in California that decided workers in nursing homes should not be threatened with jail for using the wrong pronouns.
That issue has become more and more a flashpoint in America as transgender activists demand that their agenda be imposed on the rest of society. In these situations they demand that those who interact with transgenders follow their requirements and refer to them by the pronouns they choose.
Fights already have erupted in public schools, universities and more, where individuals are forced to refer to a biological male as “she” and vice versa.
In California, judges on the Sacramento Court of Appeal ruled that such a threat by the state was based on a “content-based restriction of speech that does not survive strict scrutiny.”
The California legislature had created the problem by adopting in 2017 what it called the “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Long-Term Care Facility Residents’ Bill of Rights.”
It, among other things, threatened both fines and jail for workers who referred to residents by the “wrong” pronouns.
“A win for free speech in California! A Democratic-sponsored law that forced nursing home workers to use the ‘preferred’ transgender pronouns and names for patients was overturned in appellate court on Friday,” Graham wrote online. “Can you believe that under this terrible law, workers who offended could be charged with a misdemeanor and subject to punishment of a $1000 fine or even up to one year in jail? All for using non-preferred pronouns!”
He explained, “The judge ruled that this law crossed the line of the government’s authority to restrict pure speech—and I’m thankful she did. Anyone who values free speech in our country should pray that judges, legislators, and leaders will have the courage to say no to this madness wherever and whenever it is pushed on us.”
The court did rule against a lawsuit’s charge that room-assignment preferences for transgenders created an unconstitutional gender-based classification.
The decision cited the First Amendment, then explained, “We agree that the pronoun provision is a content-based restriction on speech. The law compels long-term care facility staff to alter the message they would prefer to convey, either by hosting a message as required by the resident or by refraining from using pronouns at all. … We recognize the state has a compelling interest in eliminating discrimination against residents of long-term care facilities. However, we conclude the pronoun provision is not narrowly tailored to achieve a compelling government objective because it burdens speech more than is required…”
The judges found, “A person’s right to speak freely prohibits the government from compelling adoption of a government message and protects the right of citizens to refrain from speaking. … The government is also limited in its ability to compel a speaker to accommodate another speaker’s message.”
The Daily Wire noted the law attempted to make it illegal for someone to fail “to use a resident’s preferred name or pronouns after being clearly informed of the preferred name or pronouns…”
The ruling included, “The pronoun provision at issue here tests the limits of the government’s authority to restrict pure speech that, while potentially offensive or harassing to the listener, does not necessarily create a hostile environment.”
An organization called Taking Offense had challenged the law, which was defended by the sponsor of the original law, Sen. Scott Wiener of San Francisco, a Democrat.
Wiener claimed that using pronouns other than those dictated by a resident is “straight-up harassment.”
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