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CORNELL: Massachusetts public schools impose new rules for transgender students

Sexual difference no longer relevant—even to bathroom choice

- - Sunday, March 10, 2013

In 2003, against the will of a majority of citizens, a handful of justices in Massachusetts ruled that the state constitution guarantees equal marriage rights for homosexual couples. The following year, “marriages” of same-sex couples began. We are now seeing the effects play out in many areas of public life, including the Massachusetts public school system.

Although homosexual couples often say they only want the same rights as heterosexuals and that they have no desire to impose their views on others, Massachusetts proves otherwise. Don’t fall for this appeal to sympathy and privacy. Parents in the state of Massachusetts now face new public school rules that allow transgender students to use restrooms and locker rooms of their choice and punish students who refuse to affirm or support transgender classmates.

Citizens of Massachusetts are learning just how far-reaching the high court’s decision is. The reach goes to public schools, hospitals, businesses, adoption agencies, growing government mandates and harassment of those who disagree with homosexual “marriage.”

Each step is logically built on the legalization of homosexual “marriage.” Once approved, it’s hard to make a case against other legislative mandates consistent with equal rights and non-discrimination.

As Adam J. McLeod and Andrew Beckwith pointed out in The Public Discourse:

“If sexual difference is irrelevant to marriage, then how can it be relevant to any practices? Once the state has determined that sexual difference is no longer a legitimate reason to extend special recognition to man-woman monogamy, there is no reason in principle to maintain sexual distinctions in less intimate practices. If one's anatomical reality isn't relevant to one's marriage, it's even less obvious why it should be relevant to one's bathroom choice.”

Joe Carter of the Acton Institute warns, “The issue now is not whether other states will adopt similar laws to Massachusetts against gender identity discrimination but when they will be adopted.”

The new rules appear in the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education guidance for Massachusetts section titled, “Public Schools Creating a Safe and Supportive School Environment.”

The document emphasizes responsibility for determining a student’s gender identity rests with the student. It also deemphasizes involvement from parents. 

Consider the example provided in the document:

“In one Massachusetts town, the parents of a pre-school-age biologically female child noted throughout the child’s early years that their child identified as a boy. For as long as the parents could remember, the child preferred to play with boys rather than girls, wanted a short haircut, rejected wearing any clothing that the child identified as “something a girl would wear,” and ignored anyone who called him by his stereotypically feminine name. When it was time for the child to enter kindergarten, the child said to his parents, “You have to tell them when I go to kindergarten that I’m a boy.”

Most ironically, counseling will be provided for students who are uncomfortable with integrating transgender students into locker rooms and bathrooms. Massachusetts serves as a wake-up call to concerned parents.

There is a radical agenda in motion, and those promoting it will gladly trample on the freedoms of anyone who dares to disagree.

The question then becomes: What should the rest of America learn from this? 

Steve Cornell is senior pastor at Millersville Baptist Church, Millersville, Pa.