SOGI Lawsuit Against Private School
Just before Nikki Shah-Brar’s seventh birthday, in June 2016, she was watching her mom get ready in front of the bathroom mirror when Nikki said, “I’m a girl. I want to be called a girl.”
That announcement kicked off a journey for her and her parents, Priya Shah and Jaspret Brar, to let their child express her gender identity and come out as a transgender girl at school.
But the family confronted roadblocks that winter when administrators said they would still treat her as a boy the following school year, according to a lawsuit the family filed in Orange County Superior Court in California on Wednesday.
“They said that we could grow her hair out,” Brar told BuzzFeed News, recounting the school’s rules for his daughter in third grade. “But they said no girls bathroom, no female pronouns, no girls name, and no girls uniform.”
By imposing those conditions, the suit alleges, Heritage Oak Private Education and its parent company, Nobel Learning Communities, illegally discriminated against the girl on the basis of gender identity in a business, engaged in fraudulent business practices, and intentionally inflicted emotional harm.
They might prevail, too. Why? This:
The crux of the suit rests on California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act, which bars businesses from discriminating based on a person’s gender identity. The complaint also claims the school violated portions of the California Business and Professions Code, which bans fraudulent practices and misleading advertisements — the complaint alleges the school falsely claims to offer a program that educates the “whole child” and give students “a sense of self-worth.”
If transgenders are considered a protected class under civil rights law, how can a private school hope to prevail? Religious schools presumably could do so under First Amendment protection, though it may cost them tax-exempt status.
Here’s a relevant passage from The Benedict Option:
It will be impossible in most places to get licenses to work without affirming sexual diversity dogma. For example, in 2016 the American Bar Association voted to add an “anti-harassment” rule to its Model Code of Conduct, one that if adopted by state bars would make it simply discussing issues having to do with homosexuality (among other things) impossible without risking professional sanction—unless one takes the progressive side of the argument.
Along those lines, it will be very difficult to have open dialogue in many workplaces without putting oneself in danger. One Christian professor on a secular university’s science faculty declined to answer a question I had about the biology of homosexuality, out of fear that anything he said, no matter how innocuous and fact-based, could get him brought up on charges within his university, as well as attacked by social media mobs. Everyone working for a major corporation will be frog-marched through “diversity and inclusion” training and will face pressure not simply to tolerate LGBT co-workers but to affirm their sexuality and gender identity.
Plus, companies that don’t abide by state and federal antidiscrimination statutes covering LGBTs will be not be able to receive government contracts. In fact, according to one religious liberty litigator who has had to defend clients against an exasperating array of antidiscrimination lawsuits, the only thing standing between an employer or employee and a court action is the imagination of LGBT plaintiffs and their lawyers.
“We are all vulnerable to such targeting,” he said.
Says a religious liberty lawyer, “There is no looming resolution to these conflicts; no plateau that we’re about to reach. Only intensification. It’s a train that won’t stop so long as there is momentum and track.”
It’s a train that won’t stop so long as there is momentum and a track. This is true. The lawsuit against the private school is only the latest thing. This morning I received an e-mail request from a Christian school administrator asking what his institution could do to protect itself legally from this kind of attack. I sent him a link to this invaluable free guide put out by the Southern Baptist ERLC and the Alliance Defending Freedom, which gives general guidelines for how to prepare to resist SOGI (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity) lawsuits.
In 2015, just before the Obergefell decision came down, prominent UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh was quoted in the NYT saying:
“If I were a conservative Christian (which I most certainly am not),” he wrote on a law and religion email list, “I would be very reasonably fearful, not just as to tax exemptions but as to a wide range of other programs — fearful that within a generation or so, my religious beliefs would be treated the same way as racist religious beliefs are.”
As I indicate in the book, this is something that goes beyond law and politics. A reader who is a licensed psychotherapist writes in a comment on another blog entry:
This is already happening with professional accreditation bodies. So far regional accrediting bodies such as SACS or WASC have refrained from chiming in on this issue. But the professional accrediting bodies are beginning to make this an issue. My local Evangelical college was denied accreditation by CACREP (the professional accrediting body for professional counseling) for its masters degree program in professional counseling precisely because the school has a policy of expelling any gay students. This school subsequently shut down their program. The issue for the professional accrediting bodies is that non-discrimination is written into the professional ethics codes for the respective professions such as nursing, social work, counseling, psychology etc … Schools which insist on discriminating against LGBT students are but which also want professional accreditation are asking the accrediting bodies to violate their code code of ethics. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. If schools want accreditation they must find a way to uphold biblical morality without engaging in acts of discrimination.
This is the world that we are in today. Even if you can protect your private or religious school from SOGI laws, there is no guarantee that the graduates of your school will be un-shunned by academia more broadly (e.g., the school will be unaccredited, and the diploma will be worthless for further academic study) or the culture of their profession. This is one way they will try to break us.
If you are a religious or social conservative and are not thinking creatively and strategically to prepare for this kind of future, you’re being incredibly negligent. Transgenderism is not as broadly accepted as homosexuality is today, but the numbers are moving in the pro-trans direction, especially among the young.