States Say Churches (And Church Childcare Centers) Must Open Bathrooms to Transgenders (At Times)

Any time a church is used for a secular purpose – such as when it operates as a polling place – it must allow a person to choose the restroom based on his or her perceived "gender identity"

The law defines a place of public accommodation as any place, licensed or unlicensed, which is “open to and accepts or solicits the patronage of the general public.” It also claims that such places may not restrict access or deny services to a person because of gender identity.

 

The Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD) has issued guidelines on new state regulations concerning “public accommodation” that will likely place churches in the uncomfortable position of opening their restrooms to transgenders at certain times.

While the regulation supposedly does not affect churches during their normal religious functions, any time a church is used for a secular purpose – such as when it operates as a polling place – it must allow a person to choose the restroom based on his or her perceived “gender identity.”

The law defines a place of public accommodation as any place, licensed or unlicensed, which is “open to and accepts or solicits the patronage of the general public.” It also claims that such places may not restrict access or deny services to a person because of gender identity.

“For example, a hotel or motel may not refuse to book a room for a person because of the person’s gender identity. Even a church could be seen as a place of public accommodation if it holds a secular event, such as a spaghetti supper, that is open to the general public,” the MCAD guidelines say.

Presumably, that also means that church outreach events open to the general public, such as a dual-purpose function (such as a combined concert and evangelistic event) would fall under the public accommodation rules.

Any violation of the rules on the part of the church, however, will not automatically result in a fine for the church. Though in a footnote in the guidelines, the MCAD notes “all charges, including those involving religious institutions or religious exemptions, are reviewed on a case-by-case basis.”

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