17 March 2017
A referendum is the worst way to resolve bathroom issues
An ugly fight over law and gender could dominate the 2018 general election if the legislature approves HB-609, Kalispell Republican Rep. Carl Glimm’s “Montana Locker Room Privacy Act,” introduced today. Generically a “bathroom bill” aimed at students with gender identity issues, its based on a premise that’s holy writ among many fundamentalist Christians:
Section 3. Definitions. (7) “Sex” means a person’s immutable biological sex as objectively determined by anatomy and genetics existing at the time of birth. A person’s original birth certificate may be relied upon as definitive evidence of the person’s sex.
Placing that definition in Montana’s statutes, not the protection of privacy, is the bill’s true purpose. It’s an attempt to settle a question of science by popular vote.
If HB-609 becomes a legislative referendum, a class of people will be singled out for ridicule and abuse during the campaign. And were the referendum to pass, Montana might receive the same boycott treatment that North Carolina received.
If the matter does go to the ballot, perhaps former North Carolina Governor Pat McCory could manage the campaign. He’s been looking for a job.