Using the wrong pronoun in Baltimore City will be unlawful if the Baltimore City Council approves a proposal on gender by one of its members.
Councilman Kristerfer Burnett’s amendment of an existing civil rights law would prohibit “the willful use of incorrect names or pronouns,” reports local 2 TV News WMAR.
The bill is aimed at employers, employment agencies and labor organizations. Those entities would be required to use the pronoun an employee chooses after being “clearly informed of the individual’s correct name or pronouns, unless otherwise required by law,” said Fox News.
The amended law would also allow transgender people to use the bathroom of their choice and dress in any manner they choose, according to Fox.
The law, if approved, would go into effect 30 days after passage.
But even if it’s passed, the law is expected to be challenged legally, especially by those who have religious and free speech objections.
Currently, LGBTQ individuals are protected under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, but it’s unclear whether those provisions specifically apply to pronoun usage, said Bloomberg, but that question could end up before the United States Supreme Court.
“We are seeing a lot of these cases” of religious-based claims against companies’ transgender worker policies, said Amy Epstein Gluck of FisherBroyles LLP. This issue is “really ripe for the Supreme Court to rule on.”
Under the Biden administration, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has ruled that not using a preferred pronoun creates a hostile work environment.
But Judge Charles Atchley Jr. of the Eastern District of Tennessee blocked that ruling after 20 state attorneys general sued the Biden administration over it.
In 2021, a professor at Shawnee State University reached a $400,000 settlement with his school after he was disciplined for not using the preferred pronoun of a student.
A unanimous decision by the Sixth Circuit Court found that the university violated the professor’s free speech and religious rights.
“The First Amendment interests are especially strong here because Meriwether’s speech also relates to his core religious and philosophical beliefs,” Judge Amul Thapar wrote in a 32-page decision, reported in the New York Post. “If professors lacked free-speech protections when teaching, a university would wield alarming power to compel ideological conformity.”
Enforcing ideological conformity, especially against the religious, is exactly what progressives want, says one legal group that works such cases.
“Ultimately, activists’ goals are to change the way you think, to punish any dissent, and to render it difficult (if not impossible) to communicate the truth that God created each of us either male or female,” said Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF).
ADF bills itself as the world’s largest legal organization committed to protecting religious freedom, free speech, marriage and family, parental rights, and the sanctity of life.