Fighting For Their Right To Discriminate

A few weeks ago we noted that an organization called was formed in Missoula, Montana in order to oppose a proposed city ordinance that would protect people from discrimination in their jobs and homes based on “actual or perceived … sexual orientation, gender identity or expression.”

The organization is associated with Concerned Women for America and the focus of its campaign is on the claim that the ordinance will make it legal for men to use women’s restrooms, thereby leading to assaults on women and children.

While the group’s effort is obviously aimed at stirring up fear in order to defeat the measure, CWA’s Wendy Long admits that they have absolutely no evidence that anti-discrimination ordinances lead to such assaults and that their real mission is to fight the anti-discrimination out of fear that it’ll eventually lead to marriage equality:

Even one of the most staunch opponents of those laws can’t point to increases in frivolous lawsuits or sexual predation. Still, Concerned Women for America president Wendy Wright said such ordinances lead the country down the wrong track.

“We have a constitutional protection for religious freedom in our First Amendment,” Wright said. “There is not a constitutional protection for sexual orientation, and yet judges and city councils and others are acting as if sexual orientation trumps religious freedom.”

The Concerned Women aim to bring biblical principles to public policy, and the Montana office opposes the Missoula ordinance. It’s one member of, a group that formed to defeat the local ordinance in large part because of fear sexual offenders will prey on women and children in bathrooms and locker rooms.

Wright couldn’t point to places that have counted increases in sexual offenses because of such laws, but she said such data is beside the point.

“It doesn’t go back to numbers,” Wright said. “It goes back to the issue that people will have legal rights that will trump other people’s rights. The right of a woman or a girl to feel safe in a fitting room, a locker, a restroom, their rights will be trumped by a person who is claiming their sexual orientation right has legal protection.”

She noted as troubling a couple of specific examples where transgender women fought for access to dressing rooms. In one Philadelphia case in 2008, a woman denied access to a fitting room planned to file a complaint against the department store, whose manager agreed to train employees to grant equal access.

Wright said one big reason Concerned Women opposes such laws is because the group does not want local ordinances to be used as stepping stones toward making gay marriage legal and teaching it in the public schools.

In essence, the less society tolerates discrimination against gays, the more likely gay marriage becomes … and so groups like CWA must fight to protect the right to discriminate.