- - Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The First Amendment took a hit in San Antonio last week, but the Constitution is still breathing. The San Antonio City Council voted to consider a city ordinance disqualifying anyone who believes homosexual conduct is wrong from serving, ever, on a municipal board. The ban is to be applied “if the City Council finds that such person has, prior to such proposed appointment, engaged in discrimination or demonstrated a bias, by word or deed” against various protected classes, and for the first time to include sexual orientation and “gender identity.”

Such bigots, for bigots is what they are, have no qualms about using such power as they have to bully anyone who holds views rooted in tradition or religion. The first draft of the San Antonio proposal would also have forbidden the city from doing business with anyone who fails to espouse politically correct views, and could, theoretically be used to remove anyone from office with a traditional view, or even a view not believed fervently enough, for “malfeasance.” Such discrimination is proposed under the cloak of a “non-discrimination” ordinance. George Orwell is alive and hiding in Texas.

You might have to be careful calling a male person a “man” if San Antonio actually enacts such malignant drivel. The ordinance says that “Gender identity means a gender-related identity, appearance, expression or behavior of an individual, regardless of the individual’s assigned sex at birth.” What if a man doesn’t feel manly when he’s called a man? Would subscribing to Playboy be prima facie evidence of offending gender identity, as practiced in San Antonio? Would it be against the law? The Alliance Defending Freedom, which litigates on behalf of religious tolerance, says it has never before encountered such an expansive ordinance.

Bigotry is breaking out all over. California is currently enjoined by a federal court from enforcing a law prohibiting homosexual-conversion therapy for children and youths struggling to be who they want to be. The New Jersey Legislature adopted a similar measure late last month, which still awaits a signature or veto from Gov. Chris Christie. Both bills would prohibit professional counselors from seeking to “change a person’s sexual orientation” or “to reduce or eliminate sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward a person of the same gender.”

It matters not whether parents of the minors or the minors themselves want counseling. California and New Jersey legislators know they know best, and they’re fervently for giving everyone a choice, so long as it’s the choice they approve. All other choices must be banned lest someone choose incorrectly.

A petition circulated last month by something calling itself “Faithful America” badgered CNN to quit inviting Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, to be a guest on its panels because Mr. Perkins and his organization support traditional marriage. To Faithful America, the Family Research Council is “a hate group.” It’s all about silencing anyone who disagrees.

The Pilgrims came to these shores centuries ago to escape the “group think” of monarchy and to practice their faith as they pleased. Freedom of religion is one of the first and most enduring freedoms that made America the exceptional nation. From California to San Antonio to New Jersey, it’s a lesson the courts must soon teach the lavender lobby.

The Washington Times