Political Editors / May 19, 2016

Call a Man a Woman, or Pay a Fine in NYC

The rule is so ridiculous, it’s hard to see how it stands a challenge in court.

The regulation that sets the full brunt of New York City government against someone who doesn’t use the preferred pronoun of the person to whom they are speaking to is now “legal enforcement guidance.” We originally wrote about this little number in January, when it was just a proposal. Back then, the New York City Commission on Human Rights thought NYC businesses should address transgendered people by their preferred pronoun, even if that person wanted to be called “ze” or “hir.” Back then, the guidelines were so ridiculous that the liberal Internet hoax police at Snopes needed to investigate and report that, yes, New York City is giving itself the power to levy fines as high as $250,000 for “violations that are the result of willful, wanton, or malicious conduct.”

Is that a New York value or what?

But the Big Apple’s new “enlightened” guidelines don’t abide by what the Supreme Court decided in 1977 when it ruled that New Hampshire could not compel its citizens to display the state’s motto, “Live Free or Die,” on their license plates if they disagreed with the message, according to the Washington Post’s Eugene Volokh. The professor of free speech law wrote of NYC’s guidelines: “So people can basically force us — on pain of massive legal liability — to say what they want us to say, whether or not we want to endorse the political message associated with that term, and whether or not we think it’s a lie.” That’s the antithesis of the First Amendment. The rule is so absurd, it’s hard to see how it stands a challenge in court — but anything is possible in the Age of Obama.

(Edited. Hat tip to reader Brian for the New York values reference.)

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