Little Sisters of the Poor Taken Back to Court

Recently, it was a homeless shelter in Seattle being sued because of their beliefs.  In apparent effort to ensure that no faith-based social service provider goes unpunished, a convent of nuns is being taken back to court as well.

Little Sisters of the Poor had previously been in a four-year legal battle with the Obama Administration over attempts to make them pay for contraception.

The mandate required them to provide many specific kinds of contraception, including the “week-after pill.”

New Health and Human Services rules from the Trump administration created a religious exemption that eliminated the mandate and once again permitted Little Sisters of the Poor to decide for themselves whether they wanted to pay for all, some, or no forms of contraception.

However, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has filed a lawsuit aimed at eliminating the religious exemption that currently covers Little Sisters.

So next Tuesday they will be back in court explaining why they shouldn’t be forced to buy birth control.

What a world we live in.

Yesterday, the Supreme Court heard arguments about whether a baker can be forced to decorate a cake with a specific message.

California is trying to make nuns buy birth control.

Early next year, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in NIFLA v. Becerra (yes, the same Becerra trying to eliminate the religious exemption in California) to determine whether the State of California can force pro-life pregnancy centers to advertise for abortion providers.

Notice a theme here?

It stopped being about live-and-let-live a long time ago.

 

 

Coming Soon: The Biggest Religious Freedom Case in a Generation

The Supreme Court will soon decide, what could be, the most important religious freedom case in our lifetime.

The conflict has been building for a decade, and we’re about to get a resolution. At least for now.

This case, called Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Human Rights Commission, involves a baker from Denver named Jack Phillips who declined to decorate a cake for a same-sex wedding. Mr. Phillips believes the First Amendment protects his right not to communicate messages or participate in events he disagrees with, but the State of Colorado decided that if he bakes cakes for any wedding, he must bake a cake for every wedding.

The Supreme Court will decide who is correct.  Oral arguments will take place on December 5th.

The left is claiming that religious freedom is dangerous. They argue that if Jack Philips can decline to decorate a cake that restaurants will be allowed to put up “whites only” signs and doctors will refuse to treat dying children because their parents are gay.

But that’s not true.

People like Jack Philips aren’t objecting to the person asking for the service, they object to the nature of the service being requested.

In every one of the many cases like this, businesses owners are saying, “I am happy to serve you, but there are some events I can’t be part of and some messages I can’t communicate regardless of who asks.”

Isn’t that reasonable?

Should the local pacifist be required to build a website for the NRA because he creates websites for other people?  Of course not.

The conflict here is between the First Amendment, which guarantees the free exercise of religion, and recent non-discrimination laws, which seek to legally punish people if their views about marriage or gender conflict with the opinions of their state’s political leadership.

But that’s not how free people live, and that’s not what good governments do.

Throughout our history, the First Amendment’s guarantee of the Free Exercise of Religion has always protected our right to do the things we believe we must and our right not to do the things we believe we shouldn’t.

Yes, that includes the freedom to do things other people disagree with.  And yes, since every choice is a form of discrimination, that means the First Amendment protects the right to “discriminate.”

Of course, we all discriminate, we just discriminate in different ways.  And in a society that is supposed to celebrate diversity, shouldn’t we be ok with that?

You aren’t free if you’re only allowed to do things I agree with.

The left would like you to see this as a decision between a kinder, gentler world, and a harsher, more cruel world.  In a sense they are right, but not in the way they think.

You see, they don’t care if people are kind and treat people fairly regardless of their race, faith, background, or sexual orientation. We know this because they just sued a homeless shelter in Seattle that wouldn’t hire someone that couldn’t abide by their code of conduct.

If you’re trying to make the world more loving and kind, you don’t sue the people who have been feeding and sheltering and loving the homeless, regardless of who they are, for 85 years.

You do that when your only goal is to create a world in which everyone agrees with you and anyone who doesn’t is punished by the government for disagreeing.  That is, indeed, a harsh and cruel world.

A world that, hopefully, the Supreme Court will agree should never exist in the United States.

Soon we will find out.

Is Abortion a Sin? Is Homosexuality Wrong? What to Say When Someone Asks

There are some things every Christian knows or at least should know. What is sin? Who is Jesus? Why do we need him?

If you’re a Christian in 2017, there are other things you should know as well.

Like how to answer the question, “Is abortion a sin?” or “Is homosexuality wrong?”

Often, the people asking the question already know the answer. They aren’t really trying to understand what sin is, they’re trying to figure out something about you. Are you a Christian, Christian, or just a Christian?

And the way you answer will say a lot about you.

You’re tempted to dodge.

You want to be able to speak the truth in love, but you don’t want to turn people away from Jesus.

You wish they wouldn’t have asked, but they did.  And now they’re staring at you.

What should you do? Create a diversion? Change the subject? Fake a seizure?

Or you could try something like this.

“Yes, abortion and homosexuality are sins; just two of the many ways people fail to meet God’s standard. One thing all of us have in common is that every day we feel compelled to do things we know we shouldn’t do.  We didn’t ask for it, we were born with that.  As a result, we’ve lied, stolen, cheated, hated, and so much more, even though we knew it was wrong when we did it.  We are all sinners.

But that’s only half the story, and if we stop there we’ll all just be depressed.  The good news is there is a solution to all our sin. Acknowledging our failures and struggles is what allows Jesus to do the work He needs to do inside us so we don’t have to carry it around anymore.

Jesus is ready to forgive us.  He is also ready to release us from the shame and condemnation that follow us around because of our sin, and he’s ready to help us begin a life where we aren’t a slave to those things anymore.”

Suddenly, a question designed to show how hateful you are has become an opportunity to show how good Jesus is.

No, it isn’t a silver bullet and, no, the right phrase isn’t going to magically convert everyone you meet.  But it allows you to point people to Jesus.

Or, you could fake a seizure and see how that goes.

You’ve probably already experienced moments like this, and if you haven’t you will.  So be ready.

But whether you will be prepared for this moment depends on a little study, preparation, and your view of the gospel. You can’t speak the truth in love if you don’t believe the truth is loving.

Fortunately, it is.  We just need to be better at explaining why.

Why a Christian Homeless Shelter is Being Sued & What You Can Do About It

It is said that no good deed goes unpunished.  Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission (UGM) is learning that may be true.

The Union Gospel Mission is the most effective and visible homeless ministry in the City of Seattle.  They operate every hour of the day, every day of the year, meeting the needs of Seattle’s growing homeless population.

One of the many free services they provide is a legal aid clinic that helps homeless people, who obviously can’t afford a lawyer, deal with legal challenges that may be keeping them from getting a job, getting their drivers license, or othewise get back on their feet.

Matt Woods was a volunteer their legal aid clinic and later applied for a full-time position. However, upon disclosing that he was in a same-sex relationship, he was told that was inconsistent with their Code of Conduct so they would not be able to hire him.

So he sued them.

This case is different than cases involving florists, bakers, and photographers because UGM is a private, religious organization. Legally speaking, they are a church.

The good news is that the rights of private, religious organizations are strong, so UGM should prevail.

The problem is that this lawsuit is even happening.

Not that long ago, Americans universally agreed that government should not tell a private religious organization how they must operate.

We called it the separation of church and state.

Today, however, telling religious organizations and individuals how they should live is standard operating procedure for many.

What can we do in response? Make a contribution to the Seattle Union Gospel Mission.

Then, after you make a contribution, send a quick note to Mr. Wood’s attorney, Denise Diskin and let her know about your contribution. Her email address is denise@stellerlaw.com. You might include a note that says something like this.

“Ms. Diskin. I heard about the lawsuit you filed against the Union Gospel Mission and wanted to let you know that I have just made a contribution to their work in response.  I will be encouraging everyone I know to do the same.

I am disappointed by the lawsuit but also committed to make sure that it is the best thing that ever happened to them.  Please let Mr. Woods know as well.”

(IF YOU CAN’T BE RESPECTFUL WHEN YOU SEND HER AN EMAIL, PLEASE DON’T!!!!!)

The best way to stop harassment like this is to convince the mob that their attempts to harm people actually help them.

Once you’ve made your contribution and sent your email, please share this story so your friends can push back too.

I promise you’ll feel good about it.

One other thing.

Can we finally stop pretending that if Christians just start being nicer that the sexual revolution will be happy?

This is a homeless shelter.  They look after heroine addicts and the mentally ill for free because it’s right and their faith compels them to. They’ve been doing it for 85 years.  If this movement is shameless enough to sue a homeless shelter that offends their secular sensibilities, tell me again why they’re going to leave you alone because you’re so nice?

Of course we should be kind, but this has never been about who is mean or who is kind.  It is a clash of worldviews and they have no intention of tolerating you or coexisting with you.

We will either successfully defend ourselves or become their subjects.

I know what I prefer.

 

 

New Jersey: Boys No Longer Required to Prove Gender Dysphoria to Compete with Girls

The State of New Jersey will now allow student athletes to compete with the gender of their choice without medical consultation, according to a new policy released by the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) on Wednesday.

Previously, students wishing to compete with students of the opposite gender would be required to show medical proof of gender dysphoria.

However, since rules discriminate, they’ve decided to get rid of them.

A few restrictions remain. Kind of.

First, students cannot compete with both the boys and the girls at the same time.  They have to choose.  This requirement clearly reflects animus towards students who identify as both male and female so we should expect it to go away soon.

Second, a school may appeal a student’s eligibility if they feel it would “adversely affect competition or safety.”  However, the appeal may not consider whether a student experiences gender dysphoria. Presumably, this rule is to provide some recourse in the event that a young Andre the Giant decided to join the girls wrestling team instead of the boys.

Third, students can’t change their gender in the middle of the season.  I suspect this bigoted rule will also soon go away. After all, who are we to tell anyone that there is a “right” time to start living as their authentic selves.

Students who identify as transgender are also explicitly permitted to use banned substances prohibited for every other athlete if it is used in connection with “hormone treatment.”

Perhaps the most revealing statement in the new rules is the last one. “If a transgender student, at some point during their high school career, no longer identifies as a transgender student, this policy shall not apply.”

In other words, if you want these rule to apply to you, they do.  Which is another way of saying, there are no rules.

The rules clearly acknowledges the fluidity and unpredictability of gender confusion and, by eliminating the requirement that a medical opinion be involved, gives complete control of the situation to students.

There is no other educational situation I am aware of in which the adults, by rule, have divested themselves of any authority or influence.

Whether it will happen with any regularity or not remains to be seen, but these rules clearly allow a student to compete as a boy in the fall and spring, but as a girl in the winter.

As a result, peer pressure will be the only thing that stands between order and chaos in New Jersey high school athletics.  Presumably, most boys would be too embarrassed to declare themselves female solely to gain a competitive advantage.  However, the moment the social climate in a school changes so that it is either acceptable–or simply funny–there will be no recourse.

In the end, the winners will be the adults who get to puff our chests out and pat each other on the back for how tolerant we are.

The losers will be the girls who just wanted the chance to play sports with other girls and the trail of confused young adults, many of whom will do irreparable harm to themselves because they’re being parented by the internet, who one day will look back and wonder where all the adults were when they needed them.

House Passes Tax Reform That Would Repeal Johnson Amendment

Today in Washington DC, the House of Representatives Passed a tax reform bill by a vote of 227-205.  The bill is a key part of President Trump’s campaign platform and now moves to the Senate.   The bill contains $1.5 trillion in tax cuts, including cutting the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent..

In addition to reforming the current tax system, the bill revokes the controversial Johnson Amendment.

The Johnson Amendment is a law from 1954 that prohibits churches from engaging in “political activity” including endorsing candidates for office.  Churches and religious organizations have long seen the Johnson Amendment as an attempt by government to restrict the free speech rights of churches simply because they are churches.

The Johnson Amendment has been referenced by groups like American’s United for Separation of Church and State to threaten churches with legal action for discussing campaigns or issues.

The language in the tax reform bill mirrors the language in the Free Speech Fairness Act, which had been introduced by Rep. Steve Scalise.

The bill now moves to the Senate, where their own tax reform bill is being debated.

The Senate bill faced early opposition from the pro-life community because it eliminated the adoption tax credit.  That tax-credit has since been restored.

The Senate bill also eliminates the individual mandate from Obamacare requiring people to purchase health insurance.

Before final passage, the House and the Senate will have to agree on a single bill that they would send to the President.

The President has indicated his desire to see a final tax reform proposal passed before Christmas.

Can Pregnancy Centers be Forced to Advertise Abortions? Supreme Court will Decide.

Can pregnancy centers be forced to tell people how to get abortions?

That is a question the Supreme Court has decided it will answer.

The case is NIFLA v. Becerra and comes to us from the land of fruits and nuts, California, where the state passed a law requiring pro-life pregnancy centers to help women get abortions.

While these clinics exist specifically to provide women the resources they need to keep their baby alive, the law says that those centers must tell women how they can get free abortions.

Can you imagine Planned Parenthood being forced to provide the names and phone numbers of adoption agencies to any pregnant woman who walks into their office?

Me neither.

This proposal isn’t just mean-spirited, it also violates the principles of free speech we Americans have always enjoyed and cherished.

Compelled speech is what terrorists do to hostages to make a point; it shouldn’t be tolerated in a country that considers itself free.

We know that the First Amendment protects our rights to say the things we want to say, but it also protects your right not to say things you don’t want to say.

That’s why you can criticize the government if you want and you can also refuse to say the pledge of allegiance as well.

However, in California, as well as Hawaii and Illinois where similar laws have been passed, the government is trying to compel people to provide information in support of a cause they believe to be immoral.

Similar legislation was introduced multiple times in the Washington State legislature, but thanks to an amazing response from the public, they were defeated.

This shouldn’t be a pro-life, pro-choice debate.

Even if you personally support abortion, you shouldn’t support people being forced to advertise for activities they find to be immoral.   What if the shoe was on the other foot?

Fortunately, help may be on the way.

Tom Glessner, the President of NIFLA, the Plaintiff in this case, told FPIW he is confident they will prevail. In fact, based on rulings by the court in recent free speech cases, he believes it could be a unanimous decision.  Despite our differences, a shared commitment to an individual’s right to free speech should unite us.  Hopefully, the Supreme Court will lead the way.

Oral arguments are expected to happen sometime in February.

Let’s hope the First Amendment, and common decency, prevail.

Democrats Take Control of Washington State. What Does It Mean?

Special election results from the 45th legislative district (Woodinville/Redmond) last night indicate that the Democrats just took control of the Washington State Senate.  With that change, Democrats now control the Governor’s mansion and both branches of the legislature.

The stakes involved were reflected in the record $8.5 million that was spent was spent on the race, which filled a vacancy created when moderate Republican Andy Hill lost a battle with cancer.

The Republicans had been in control of the Senate since 2012.

Republican control of the Senate meant that Democrat leadership in the House and Governor’s mansion was forced to compromise on budgets, taxes, education, and a range of social issues.

That may no longer be necessary.

While the majorities in both houses are slim, (25 -24  in the Senate and 50-48 in the House) Governor Inslee is hoping it allows him to do everything he’s been unable to do since he was first elected in 2012.

He told The New York Times,  “We intend to make a full-scale effort in the next session of the Legislature if we win.” 

This likely means an effort to pass a new carbon tax and possibly an income tax as well.

An income tax has been found to be in violation of the Washington State Constitution’s requirement that “all taxes shall be uniform upon the same class of property” but the current state Supreme Court is effectively an extension of the Democratic Party. There is some speculation–even hope in Democrat circles–that the Supreme Court will invent a new interpretation of the Constitution that allows the legislature to create an income tax.

Still, Washington State remains in an apparently permanent anti-tax mood.

While voters last night were giving Democrats control over all three branches of power, they also soundly rejected three separate tax increases that passed the legislature as part of this years budget.   It is likely that Democrats in swing districts will be less than enthusiastic about supporting substantial tax increases right before their elections.

On social issues, the landscape is likely to become very challenging.   The abortion industry, in particular, has had their legislative priorities stonewalled for five years.  The legislation they have proposed but failed to pass includes:

  1. Regulation of pro-life pregnancy clinics in ways that would make it very difficult for them to exist.
  2. Bringing repealed contraceptive and abortion mandates from Washington DC to Washington State.

In addition, last night’s results could provide the opportunity for radical social policies from other Democratically controlled states to be debated in Washington. We could see things like:

  1. Oregon style abortion law requiring every insurer to cover abortion and contraception without any cost to patients.
  2. Adding creative new gender categories to driver’s licenses and other forms of government ID.
  3. Efforts to cut students at Christian universities off from government funding sources as long as those universities ascribe to a Christian understanding of marriage, sexuality, and gender.

Other issues tabled because of the Republican-led Senate that could be resurrected include:

  1. Commercial surrogacy.  Womb renting is illegal almost everywhere on the planet, but the LGBT lobby wants to make it more available so that homosexual men can pay women to have their babies.  The scenario has numerous opportunity for abuses, which is why it has been recently banned in every Southeast Asian country, where it has been most common.
  2. Third-party parenting. Should a judge be able to overrule the wishes of parents and give visitation to a third-party, non-parents?  Legislation introduced several years ago would do exactly that, making it easier for former same-sex partners to have visitation with other people’s children.  It was defeated in the Senate, but could soon return.
  3. Therapy bans.  The left has been pushing very hard to pass legislation that makes it illegal for a therapist to help minors who want to reduce or eliminate same-sex attraction.  Three times it was defeated in the Senate.  On social issues, this could be the priority.

While it was an off-year election with relatively little at stake nationally, in places where there were elections, Democrats did very well.  Voter enthusiasm appears to have strongly favored Democrats as well, a likely result of continuing anger on the left over President Trump’s election.

After President Obama was elected in 2008, Republicans proceeded to pick up 1,000 seats at the local, state and federal level across the country.  Whether President Trump will similarly inspire the left remains to be seen, but they are encouraged by the start.

For those of us in Washington State, we don’t need to wait.

If you care about life or religious freedom, your situation just became much more difficult.

It is far from impossible, but if everyone looks for someone else to take care of it, they probably won’t like the outcome.

Don’t Be This Pastor

Carl Lentz is a pastor of Hillsong Church in New York City; a church that is best known for its music.

Last week he made an appearance on The View, as part of a book promotional tour.

The interview is a little uncomfortable but worth watching.

It starts off with a flurry as one of the hosts asks, “Hillsong is seen as this hip, millennial church…but it’s still evangelical. Where do you stand on social issues…like gay marriage, abortion, like how do you address those.”

Lentz is flustered. “So we’re going to go right there?” he responds.

For the record, this is not a vexing theological question.  God is opposed to abortion and same-sex, sexual relationships.

It seems Lentz knows this but feels like saying so would defeat some other purpose for the interview.

Upon gathering himself, he responds with, “I think our job is still…not necessarily to change how people think, but to try to point them to what God has said.”

If you’re trying to keep everyone happy, this may be the best play you can run.

First, say something heretical to score points with those who hate the God you represent, then say something biblical to remind your church you still care about what that God thinks.

It’s possible that when he said “It’s not our job to change how people think” what he really meant was, “changing your political positions aren’t of primary importance.” If that’s what he meant, then we agree.  But that’s not what he said so it is worth emphasizing that the gospel is definitely concerned with changing how people think.

That’s why we are to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Cor 10:5) and be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Rom 12:2).  If it is true that “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he” (Prov 23:7) thinking straight is the foundation of discipleship and faith.

After that exchange, Lentz continues talking but doesn’t say much. What’s clear is that he means well, and he wants people to understand that he cares about them, but Joy Behar, one of the hosts of The View, tries to get the conversation back on point. “So it’s not a sin in your church to have an abortion?”

Lentz is on the hot seat again. “That’s the kind of conversation we would have finding out your story, where you’re from, what you believe.”

As if your story is somehow relevant to whether God thinks abortion is wrong or not.

But he’s clearly a nice guy.

He follows that up with, “God’s the judge.  People have to live to their own convictions.”   That little piece of heresy draws an applause from the audience.

Behar seems surprised.  “So it’s not an open and shut case with you?”

Lentz continues to equivocate. “To some people it is.”

To which everyone watching thinks, “Yeah, but she asked you.”

He tries to recover. “Before I start picking and choosing what I think is sin in your life, I’d like to know your name.”

Of course, whether Carl Lentz knows your name or not has no impact on whether your behavior aligns with God’s best for your life or not.

After that, they let him off the hot seat.

Lentz gained confidence when the conversation turns to racism.  After a host applauded his “courage” for calling out President Trump and speaking in defense of the Black Lives Matter movement, he explained his obligation to speak to the issue because “of course this is an issue, of course, this is wrong.”

If he must speak about race because God obviously cares, it makes one wonder why he had such a hard time saying anything about gay marriage or abortion.

I don’t know Carl Lentz. To my knowledge, this was the first time I’ve seen him or heard him talk, so there is no personal ax to grind.  I do not doubt at all that his intentions are good.

For me, however, this conversation perfectly captures the strategy of the American church when it comes to engagement with a secular culture in 2017: speak directly and answer questions only when you know progressives will agree, change the subject if you fear they won’t, and above all, remember that good marketing is what brings people to Jesus.

Feels kind of silly doesn’t it?

When its all over, the church gets the same response all the politicians get; a furrowed brow and a, “Why can’t you at least be honest?”

They know what we believe, but they don’t respect our unwillingness to say so and they shouldn’t.

Do people hate the church today?  Sure. Some do.  People hate anything that suggests they can’t do whatever they want to do.

Still, if we want to convince the world that we have a better alternative to suicidal hedonism, we should probably be prepared for obvious questions and we definitely shouldn’t be afraid to answer them, even if we think Joy Behar might disapprove.

 

Do Parents Have the Right to Seek Help for Their Children?

Who decides what medical or mental health care is best for your child? Would it surprise you to know that in the mental health arena the ‘age of consent’ is only 13 years of age in Washington?  Like laws surrounding abortion, parents of adolescents are potentially cut out of the decision making and mental health care of their teenage children.

When it comes to mental health treatment for issues of sexual orientation or gender identity, it could be even worse.

Conversion therapy, the use of talk therapy to help children suffering from questions of Sexual Orientation or Gender Dysphoria, was banned in Seattle as of August 2016.

The legislation sponsored by Councilmember M. Lorena González made the practice of conversion therapy on minors by licensed medical or mental-health professionals punishable by fines of up to $1,000. It also prohibits the advertising of conversion therapy.

In 2017, the Washington state senate introduced SB5722, which would extend the ban to minors statewide. When the legislature returns early in 2018, the debate is set to continue.  If such a ban were to pass, parents would not be able to seek mental health treatment for their children who may be struggling with gender identity or sexual orientation issues.

The American Psychological Association (APA) calls transgender, an “umbrella term for persons whose gender identity, gender expression or behavior does not conform to that typically associated with the sex to which they were assigned at birth.” The diagnosis often assigned these individuals by the clinical community is Gender Dysphoria. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) contains separate criteria for diagnosing it in adults and adolescents versus children.

While it is typically recognized that adult citizens of the United States have full jurisdiction over their own medical choices, those under 18 are considered under the authority of their parents. A debate, on these terms, surrounding the appropriate treatment for children and adolescents who may be transgender is taking shape all around the world.

The Daily Mail recently profiled parents who felt the state-sponsored, National Health Service (NHS) in England was pressuring their kids to go through with medical procedures to change their sex. The article reports that one mother was shocked to find her child being referred to a specialist transgender clinic, after only a 40-minute evaluation. Some of the parents made claims that their children only began hating the biological sex they were born after cases of extreme bullying by other students and that NHS employees refused to listen to their claims.

The rush to label children transgender comes on the heels of the NHS signing a “memorandum of understanding,” which is nearly identical to implementing a ban on conversion therapy. The memorandum makes it illegal for staff to challenge the person’s gender confusion.

It is pertinent to note that the science on this matter has not been settled yet either. There is much debate in the medical community as to whether transgender is a clinical disorder and furthermore if those who don’t adhere to the gender binary deserve protections similar to that which is guaranteed based upon immutable characteristics like race.

Dr. Quentin Vanmeter, a pediatric endocrinologist from the American College of Pediatricians does not view transgenderism as a civil rights issue. He says that transgenderism is a mental health issue, and there is no scientific evidence that it’s a physiological phenomenon. He believes that treating it as if it’s a natural phenomenon and speaking about it as a civil rights issue is doing a disservice to the children struggling with this type of mental illness.

He’s not alone either, former Chief of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University, Dr. Paul McHugh, also believes that being transgender is a psychological problem, not a biological phenomenon. He thinks that transgender individuals should be referred to mental health counseling, not surgery.  A statewide ban such as Seattle’s on talk-therapy for minors dealing with gender dysphoria would make this impossible.

With a degree of doubt cast on the advocacy of LGBT groups painting transgender as a biological phenomenon and not a psychological problem, parents need to be skeptical of hormone therapies and sex reassignment surgery, which hold the potential to alter a child or adolescent’s  life indefinitely.

Parents should have the right to explore all of the options available for their children and adolescents and make the decision that seems most appropriate to them, not the state.

Genevieve Malandra is a contributing writer to Family Policy Institute of Washington.