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Republican bill would re-write civil rights laws to stop protecting trans people

Nick Duffy July 17, 2017

A Republican-backed bill would rewrite civil rights laws to specifically exclude transgender people.

A bill filed in the US House of Representatives this week would make sweeping changes to the civil rights laws that ban discrimination based on race, colour, religion, sex, or national origin.

The Civil Rights Act provisions on sex have been used in recent years to extend some protection to transgender people.

However, HR 2796, filed in the House by four Republicans, aims to put a stop to that.

Known as the ‘Civil Rights Uniformity Act of 2017’, the law “prohibits the word ‘sex’ or ‘gender’ from being interpreted to mean ‘gender identity’, and requires ‘man’ or ‘woman’ to be interpreted to refer exclusively to a person’s genetic sex.”

The proposal would alter a string of laws, including the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, and the Fair Housing Act. It would also threaten non-discrimination provisions of Obamacare.

In a direct attack on transgender people, it also specifies that “no federal civil rights law shall be interpreted to treat gender identity or transgender status as a protected class, unless it expressly designates ‘gender identity’ or ‘transgender status’ as a protected class.”

The bill, which has been strongly criticised by civil rights campaigners, was backed by Pete Olson (R-TX), Ralph Abraham (R-LA), Brian Babin (R-TX) and Vicky Hartzler (R-MO).

Babin said: “The Obama Administration used brute force and coercion to compel states and localities to accept its redefinition of sex to include ‘gender identity.’

“Though the Trump Administration has rolled back most of these overreaching executive orders, the Civil Rights Uniformity Act would ensure that any redefinition of sex by the U.S. government would have to originate from Congress and be passed into law, preventing future executive overreach.

“This bill preserves the power of Congress and restores the voice of the people to make sure that ‘gender identity’ is not conflated with biological sex without explicit approval by the people’s representatives in Congress.”

Olson said: “We must reject the notion of false power stolen from Congress by a White House seeking to impose social policy on America.

“The Founding Fathers never intended unelected bureaucrats in federal agencies to make sweeping changes to the definition of gender.

“While we have a new president in office, we must restore the voice of the people given to them by our Constitution and put an end to this dangerous precedent of removing Congress’ power to make laws.”

One of the bill’s co-sponsors, Rep. Steve King, recently attacked transgender people in the US Armed Forces.

King compared proposals for gender reassignment surgery for American troops be funded by the Pentagon to the Ottoman practice of castrating slaves serving in the empire’s infantry units.

He argued that this should not be allowed and that the Pentagon should not be accepting troops who identify as trans into the military.

The lawmaker argued that offering these treatments was the same as the Ottoman Empire castrating enslaved soldiers.

“What they did in order to keep them from reproducing was that they did reassignment surgery on those slaves they had captured, that they had put into their janissary troops,” said King.

He went on to say that offering the surgery would only entice people who wanted the surgery, not for the want of being in the Armed Forces.

“And that reassignment surgery was they took them from being a virile, reproductive male into being a eunuch.

“That’s a lesson of the military — the Ottoman military — from two, three, 400 years ago,” King said.

He added that offering the surgeries would not make the military a “better” place.

More: bill, Civil Rights, civil rights laws, LGBT, Republican, Trans, Transgender, US

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