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During a TV interview in 2011, I quoted the words of a Christian lawyer who said that just as gay activists were once put in jail, they now want to put us in jail. For making this comment, I was vilified by Right Wing Watch, mocked by gay activists, and ridiculed by others.
I wonder what those critics are saying today in light of a recently proposed California bill that would send nursing home caregivers to jail for "misgendering" their nursing home patients. As a Daily Caller headline announces, "California Could Start Jailing People Who Don't Use Transgender Pronouns."
That's right, "The law is currently limited in its effects to nursing homes and intermediate-care facilities, but if passed, those who 'willfully and repeatedly' refuse 'to use a transgender resident's preferred name or pronouns' could be slapped with a $1,000 fine and up to one year in prison, according to the California Heath and Safety code."
As utterly outrageous as this sounds, note that, "The state senate passed the bill 26-12 at the end of May. Since then, the Assembly Judiciary committee recommended the bill unanimously and the General Assembly held its first hearing on the legislation Wednesday."
Yes, we're talking about putting nursing home caregivers in jail for refusing to refer to 90-year-old Sally, who now identifies as Sam, with male pronouns. This is insanity.
Lest you think I'm getting this from an LGBT adaptation of Orwell's 1984 rather than from an actual, proposed law, just take a look at this video exchange between Tucker Carlson and Robin Biro, who supports the bill.
Carlson rightly rejects Biro's position, saying, "It doesn't sound very American. You go to jail if you say something someone doesn't want you to say. . . . You can be put in prison for saying what you think is true. This bill criminalizes speech. . . . If you use the wrong pronoun, you can be put in jail. That's grotesque."
Grotesque is a fair way to describe this. Yet, as far as I can tell, LGBT activists around America are not raising their voices in protest.
And make no mistake about it: Christian conservatives - specifically, those who care for the elderly - would be among the first to be jailed should this bill become law. What a monstrosity.
Returning to 2011, my dialogue with Christian TV host Cindy Jacobs went like this:
Brown: Here it is in a nutshell: the activists who came out of the closet about forty years ago first said "we demand our rights." Then they began to point to others and said "you have to accept our rights." Then they began to point to conservatives, especially conservative Christians, and said "we're taking away your rights." And next thing, they want to put us in the closet.
Cindy Jacobs: Or in jail.
Brown: Or in jail. In fact an attorney friend of mine said "cycle it once more: it's not just they came out of the closet and want to put us in the closet; they were put in jail, they want to put us in jail."
When Kim Davis was jailed for refusing to comply with a judge's order to issue same-sex "wedding" certificates, many LGBT activists argued, "This proves nothing, since she was jailed for refusing to obey the courts and do her job."
In reality, there were other options available to the courts, and she was within her legal rights to refuse to issue the certificate, based on her religious convictions and Kentucky law.
But even if this could be disputed, what was indisputable was the glee with which her arrest was greeted, as a chorus of joyful mockery was heard around the nation. To paraphrase, "This Christian bigot got just what she deserved. May she be the first of many!"
As I wrote shortly after Davis was arrested, "the national outrage against Kim Davis has nothing to do with her refusing to obey the law and everything to do with her Christian beliefs.
"Had she found herself on the opposite end of the conflict and had she stood for 'gay rights,' refusing to obey a law that she felt discriminated against them, she would be praised from coast to coast.
"Instead, she is being vilified in the ugliest terms and has quickly become the target of death threats simply because, in conscience before God, she cannot comply with the judge's order."
California has now taken things one giant step farther, and for the moment, with strong legislative approval.
And what happens if the bill passes and the first Christian nursing home caregiver goes to jail for the crime of misgendering a patient?
I imagine the same gay activists and allies who mocked me for predicting this in 2011 will say, "The bigot got what was coming to him! Let it be a lesson to all that you don't have the right to discriminate against others."
I would be delighted to be proven wrong on this and for LGBT activists to join as one in denouncing this bill.
I would be even more delighted for sanity to prevail in California and for this monstrous bill to be withdrawn and repudiated, with heartfelt apologies.
If not, get ready to visit your parents' doctor in the local jail for refusing to collaborate with social madness.
Originally published at AskDrBrown.org - reposted with permission.