Massachusetts Law Could Jail Pastors For Using The Wrong Pronouns
October 4, 2016 By Bre Payton A new Massachusetts law banning sex-segregated bathrooms in public places could soon be used to jail and fine pastors if they use pronouns inconsistent with individuals’ biological sex.
The entity tasked with enforcing the law, the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, recently released a guidebook explaining the nuances of these new rules, including a portion about how they plan to force churches to comply. The law will soon extend to churches that host “secular” events that are open to the public. As The Washington Post‘s Eugene Volokh explains, this means churches will be held liable for things pastors and even church members say if someone attending considers it “harassment.”
Under Massachusetts law, refusing to use a transgender person’s preferred pronoun would be punishable discrimination. . . The Massachusetts document I linked to makes that clear in the employment context, and it also makes clear that the antidiscrimination law rules apply to places of public accommodations (including churches, in ‘secular events’ ‘open to the public’) just as much as to employment.