Justice & Civil Liberties

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  • Ted Nugent Reelected To NRA Board After 2016 Of Hate

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    Ted Nugent was reelected to the National Rifle Association’s board of directors just weeks after he promoted a fake video of Hillary Clinton being shot and during a year in which he caused a national controversy for promoting anti-Semitic material.

    During a May 21 meeting of members  at the NRA's annual meeting in Louisville, KY, NRA election committee chairman Carl T. Rowan announced that Nugent was one of 25 individuals elected to a three-year term on the NRA's board, terminating in 2019. Nugent received the second most votes:

     

     

    As a musician and conservative commentator, Nugent is to many the most recognizable member of NRA leadership. He has served on the gun group's board of directors for more than 20 years. In the group's 2013 board elections Nugent was second only to Iran-Contra figure Oliver North for most votes in favor of reelection. He frequently mixes his pitches for the NRA with inflammatory commentary, such as when he told people to join the NRA while calling for the “evil carcasses” of President Obama and other progressive politicians.

    Nugent is a fixture of the NRA's annual meeting, delivering talks in 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015. During his speech at last year’s meeting, Nugent talked about shooting Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) and called the president “Osama Obama” and offered to charter a boat ride to take Obama “back to Kenya.” At the 2012 meeting, Nugent set in motion a visit with the Secret Service after telling NRA members he would be “dead or in jail” if Obama was reelected as president.

    As the NRA annual meeting wraps up tomorrow, Nugent will deliver a talk called “2016 Election Do or Die for America and Freedom.”

    Nugent’s 2016 has so far been marked by particularly ugly rhetoric.

    • In January, Nugent called for Obama and Hillary Clinton to be hanged for treason for their supposed malfeasance during the 2012 Benghazi terror attacks.

    • Nugent caused widespread controversy in February after sharing an image on his Facebook page that suggested Jews are behind a conspiracy to enact stricter gun laws. After coming under fire from the Anti-Defamation League and other groups, Nugent further claimed that Jewish supporters of gun safety laws are “Nazis in disguise.” As condemnations continued to roll in, even from far-right pro-gun organizations (but not the NRA), Nugent eventually apologized, claiming he did not realize the image he shared that placed Israeli flags next to faces of 12 Jewish American politicians and gun violence prevention advocates had a "connection whatsoever to any religious affiliation."

    • In March, Nugent called a critic with a Hispanic name a "beanochimp" and suggested the man should die.

    • Later that same month, Nugent shared a misogynist chain message about why men supposedly prefer guns over women, which included claims like "guns function normally every day of the month” and “A gun doesn't mind if you go to sleep after you use it.”

    • On March 31, Nugent posted a racially derogatory image on his Facebook page that he said was an advertisement for a moving company called "2 niggers and a stolen truck."

    • In a May 10 post to his Facebook page, Nugent shared a fake video that showed Hillary Clinton being graphically shot to death by Bernie Sanders. He added his own comment: “I got your guncontrol right here bitch!”

     

  • VIDEO: The Repugnant Way The NRA Talks About Hillary Clinton

    Blog ››› ››› COLEMAN LOWNDES & TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    The National Rifle Association will surely attack Hillary Clinton during its annual meeting. Members of the NRA’s leadership have attacked Clinton for years with vile and paranoid claims.

    The NRA is holding its annual meeting from May 19-22 in Louisville, KY. On May 20, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre, NRA top lobbyist Chris Cox, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and other conservative figures will speak at the meeting’s biggest event, the NRA Institute for Legislative Action Leadership Forum.

    The NRA began its opposition to Clinton in earnest during its 2015 meeting with a gender-based attack. While addressing the NRA’s members, LaPierre said of the prospect of electing Clinton after President Obama’s term, “I have to tell you, eight years of one demographically symbolic president is enough.” During that year's leadership forum, LaPierre claimed that Clinton “will bring a permanent darkness of deceit and despair” to America.

    While LaPierre supplies many of the NRA’s paranoid claims about Clinton and gun confiscation, the organization’s best-known leadership figure, board member Ted Nugent, offers disgusting attacks. Nugent has called Clinton a “toxic cunt,” a “two-bit whore,” and a “worthless bitch,” among other insults.

    Here is how the NRA leadership talks about Clinton:

     

     

     

  • South Carolina’s Anti-Choice Fetal Pain Bill Is “Turning Lies Into Law”

    Nineteen-Week Abortion Ban Contradicts “Medical Consensus” About Fetal Development

    Blog ››› ››› SHARON KANN

    On May 17, South Carolina’s legislature passed a bill to ban abortion after 19 weeks based on the false premise that fetuses can feel pain at 20 weeks post-fertilization. Armed with a wealth of anti-choice propaganda and right-wing media myths, Gov. Nikki Haley (R-SC) is likely to sign the “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act” into law with no exceptions for pregnancies that are the result of rape or incest.

    Despite the wealth of scientific evidence to the contrary, assertions about fetal pain have framed right-wing media’s coverage of abortion and supplied talking points for anti-choice politicians to push medically unnecessary laws targeting abortion access. In March,  Utah Gov. Gary Herbert (R-UT) invoked the idea of fetal pain to sign a dangerous bill requiring Utah doctors to administer anesthesia during abortions performed after 20 weeks. Although South Carolina’s bill does not mandate the use of anesthesia, it is based on the same disputed premise about fetal pain.

    Samantha Allen explained in an article for the Daily Beast that by signing this bill, Gov. Haley not only would make South Carolina “the 17th state in the country to institute a 20-week abortion ban,” but she would “also be turning lies into law.” According to Allen, although the South Carolina bill states that “there is substantial medical evidence that an unborn child is capable of experiencing pain by twenty weeks after fertilization,” the majority of credible scientific evidence undermines this fallacious claim.

    Anti-choice legislators claim in the South Carolina bill that fetal reactions to stimuli at 20 weeks post-fertilization prove that the fetuses are capable of feeling pain. In particular, they claim research shows that “a functioning cortex is not necessary to experience pain.” There is little evidence to support this claim, or other claims of fetal pain prior to 24 weeks of development.

    As Allen explained, the so-called science behind anti-choice legislators’ claims contradicts “the current medical consensus that fetal pain depends on the functioning of pathways in the brain between the thalamus and the cortex.” A 2015 article in FactCheck.org found there was no causal relationship between fetal withdrawal from stimuli and feelings of pain because any “recoil is more of a reflex” that is distinct from “the experience of pain” itself.

    In an interview with Salon, Columbia University Medical Center’s Dr. Anne Davis said these warnings about fetal pain and brain development are “created concerns” that are “based in politics,” not science. According to Davis, a fetus’s brain is not sufficiently developed to perceive pain until 24 weeks gestation. Politicians “can have an opinion about that, but it doesn’t change the information,” she told Salon. A March 2010 report from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists affirmed that “research shows that the sensory structures are not developed or specialised enough to experience pain in a fetus less than 24 weeks.”

    Furthermore, Allen noted, two of the three researchers whose work is cited to support fetal pain bills “have already publicly disagreed with the way in which their findings have been used by anti-abortion advocates”:

    In 2013, Dr. Merker told The New York Times that his frequently-cited research “did not deal with pain specifically.” Even Dr. Anand, who believes that fetal pain could start earlier than the literature suggests, told the Times that he used to testify in court cases on abortion bans but that he stopped because “it’s just gotten completely out of hand.”

    In Slate, writer Nora Caplan-Bricker warned that there are compounding negative effects when 20-week bans operate in conjunction with other targeted restrictions on abortion care. She argued that South Carolina’s bill “constricts an already narrow window of opportunity” for patients to access abortion because in “states with multiple restrictions on abortion -- of which South Carolina is one -- women who decide to terminate early in pregnancy can be delayed for weeks or months as they scrape together money or contend with logistics.”

    South Carolina’s anti-choice lawmakers aren’t stopping with a ban on abortion at 19 weeks. As ABC reported, the South Carolina legislature is already hard at work on its next attack on abortion access: “a bill opponents say would essentially ban abortion past 13 weeks.”

  • Sponsor Of NRA Leadership Forum Routinely Smears Slain Black Youths And Their Families

    Trump To Address NRA Faithful At Forum

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    The co-sponsor of the NRA’s upcoming leadership forum routinely attacks African-American youths killed in controversial shootings, and he has more than once smeared the mothers of two deceased Florida teenagers as liars motivated by money in their opposition to Stand Your Ground laws.

    On May 20, Donald Trump and other Republican politicians will speak at the National Rifle Association's annual Institute for Legislative Action leadership forum. The event is being held at the NRA’s annual meeting in Louisville, KY, which runs from May 19-22.

    According to the NRA’s website, the forum will be co-sponsored by Bearing Arms and Townhall Media. Bearing Arms is a well-known gun blog run by Bob Owens.

    Owens frequently makes inflammatory claims. In October 2015, he authored a post on his blog suggesting that “radical” Democrats will be hanged after they start a civil war against Republicans over issues including gun ownership. Owens illustrated his post with an image of gallows. In 2010, when Media Matters documented another instance in which Owens fantasized about a second civil war in the U.S., Owens responded by writing that he hopes the "propagandists" at Media Matters “feel threatened.”

    Owens has weighed in on the shooting deaths of African-American youths Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, and Tamir Rice, in each instance also attacking a member or members of the deceased’s family.

    In a recent post on his website, Owens called Martin “a semi-literate violent criminal,” among other insults. Owens has also claimed that Martin’s mother opposes controversial Stand Your Ground self-defense laws because she wishes to enrich herself through a lawsuit.

    Owens has also attacked the mother of Jordan Davis, a Florida teenager who was killed in a gas station parking lot by a man angry about the volume of Davis’ music. Owens called Davis’ mother, Lucy McBath, a “serial liar” for accurately noting that Stand Your Ground played a role in the George Zimmerman trial.

    Owens has also attacked Tamir Rice, blaming both the 12-year-old and his parents for Rice’s death.

    Trayvon Martin

    Owens frequently directs invective toward deceased Florida teenager Trayvon Martin. In February 2012, Martin, then 17, was fatally shot by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman. A confrontation between Martin and Zimmerman occurred after Zimmerman began to follow Martin as the high school student walked from a convenience store to his father’s house.

    While Zimmerman has a well-documented history of violence -- both before and after the Martin shooting, including an assault on a police officer and multiple domestic violence allegations -- Owens routinely attacks Martin’s character.

    In a May 11 blog post, Owens called Martin “a violent, drug-abusing thug who appeared to get off on hurting people” and “a semi-literate violent criminal,” and he slammed an upcoming musical about Martin’s life, which he claimed would be “whitewashing a black heart” and which he called an attempt to “whitewash a thug’s death.”

    In a 2014 post, Owens argued that “good people … will arm themselves against violent young predators like Trayvon Martin” because “any society that hopes to survive simply has no choice.”

    Owens has also attacked Martin’s mother, Sybrina Fulton. In a 2013 post, he claimed that Fulton had raised a “monster” and that her advocacy against Stand Your Ground laws, like the one cited by a juror in explaining Zimmerman’s acquittal, was really about personal enrichment.

    Owens wrote:

    As for why Fulton and her attorneys and Democratic lawmakers in general want Stand Your Ground laws repealed, that’s blisteringly obvious as well.

    Money.

    A provision of Stand Your Ground law in many states is that if a person is found not guilty during a criminal trial, then that defendant win (sic) civil immunity, and that keeps the families of deceased street thugs from suing the survivors for millions of dollars in civil court.

    Jordan Davis

    Owens called the mother of slain Florida teenager Jordan Davis a “serial liar” over her advocacy against Stand Your Ground laws following Davis’ killing. In fact, Owens is the one lying about Stand Your Ground.

    In November 2012, Davis, 17, was murdered by Michael Dunn in a Jacksonville, FL, gas station parking lot. Dunn had told Davis and his friends to turn down their music before he fired 10 rounds into the car Davis was sitting in.

    In February 2014, Dunn was found guilty on four charges, including three for attempted second-degree murder on the other teens in the car, but the jury could not come to a decision on the first-degree murder charge tied to Davis' death. During closing arguments, Dunn’s attorney cited Stand Your Ground in arguing against a murder conviction for Davis’ death. A mistrial was declared on the murder charge, and Dunn was subsequently convicted of first-degree murder during a second trial that concluded in October 2014.

    Following Davis’ killing, his mother, Lucy McBath, has become an outspoken advocate against Stand Your Ground laws. Owens attacked McBath for this advocacy in a May 13 post, claiming, “She has become radicalized, and now travels the nation attempting to strip law-abiding citizens of their most basic natural right as a human being, the right [to] bear arms for self defense.”

    According to Owens, “McBath has become a serial liar, and sadly seems to be more comfortable with her lies as time goes on,” because she wrote an opinion piece that said Stand Your Ground played a role in the Zimmerman trial.

    While Owens claimed McBath is a liar because “Stand Your Ground laws had nothing at all do do (sic) with the [Zimmerman] case,” he is wrong.

    The language of Stand Your Ground was included in instructions to the jury considering whether to convict Zimmerman of second-degree murder. Prior to the law’s enactment in 2005, the instructions given to the jury were much different. As explained by a former Florida state senator, the change in the letter of the law “fundamentally changed the analysis used by juries to assign blame in these cases.” Following Zimmerman’s acquittal, a juror told CNN that Zimmerman was found not guilty “because of the heat of the moment and the Stand Your Ground.” Zimmerman also benefited from Stand Your Ground pre-trial, as local government officials cited the law as the reason Zimmerman was not initially arrested.

    Owens also called McBath a liar because she wrote that Stand Your Ground laws “promote a culture of shoot first, ask questions later, a culture that upends traditional self-defense law and emboldens individuals to settle conflicts by reaching for their firearms, even when they can safely walk away from danger.” But McBath is correct; academic research has established that Stand Your Ground laws increase homicide by “lower[ing] the cost of using lethal force.”

    Tamir Rice

    Owens frequently defends the widely criticized police shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice. In November 2014, Rice was shot in a public park in Cleveland, OH, after a 911 caller reported seeing Rice waving around an Airsoft replica pistol. Police shot Rice within two seconds of coming onto the scene, apparently mistaking the toy gun for a real firearm (the 911 caller’s repeated suggestion that the gun was “probably fake” was not relayed to the responding officers).

    After the city of Cleveland agreed to a monetary settlement with Rice’s family, the local police union caused controversy by arguing that some of the money should be used “to help educate the youth of Cleveland in the dangers associated with the mishandling of both real and facsimile firearms.”

    Owens weighed in on the controversy, attacking the deceased 12-year-old and his family. Of Rice, Owens wrote that “it is entirely fair to ‘blame the victim’ when it was the specific actions of the victim that led to his demise” and that “Tamir Rice died because he made poor choices.”

    He also suggested that Rice’s family was responsible for his death, claiming that the Rice family’s outrage over the police union suggestion means “perhaps the Rice family doesn’t care any more about being responsible after Tamir’s death than they did about teaching him to be responsible with realistic toy guns while he was alive.”

  • Columbia Journalism Review Dismantles Daleiden’s Claim That He’s A Journalist

    CMP Videos Merely Prove Daleiden Was “Masquerading As An Investigative Journalist, With The Aim Of Damaging Planned Parenthood”

    Blog ››› ››› SHARON KANN

    Starting in July 2015, the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) released a series of deceptively edited videos, baselessly alleging that Planned Parenthood sold fetal tissue. This smear campaign was so fraudulent it earned CMP and its founder, David Daleiden, the title of Media Matters’ 2015 Misinformer of the Year. Although right-wing media baselessly insist that Daleiden is a journalist, in a May 12 report for the Columbia Journalism Review (CJR), Ted Anderson concluded after “a close analysis of his video footage and his actions” that the work produced by Daleiden “doesn’t qualify as journalism on legal or ethical grounds.”

    Daleiden and his lawyers have argued that CMP’s work is journalism because it “uses the same undercover techniques that investigative journalists have used for decades.” Right-wing media have consistently carried water for these claims.

    Anderson thoroughly dismantled this argument and debunked Daleiden’s attempt at “pleading journalism” to cover his illegal and fraudulent activities. Citing a previous investigation by the Los Angeles Times -- which he participated in -- as well as several legal precedents, Anderson argued that Daleiden was not a journalist and merely “produced an intentionally emotional provocation that led to an investigation of smoke where there was no fire.”

    This latest debunk reaffirms statements and findings by journalists, a judge, and a grand jury and proves the only wrongdoing Daleiden “documented was the alleged fraud that he engaged in as an anti-abortion activist masquerading as an investigative journalist, with the aim of damaging Planned Parenthood.

    In one example, Anderson explained that Daleiden's description of CMP's work on its website didn't originally include the words "investigative journalism." He noted it was only after the deceptive videos garnered public attention that the term “suddenly appeared on the homepage” when Daleiden “altered the stated purpose of the organization.” According to Andersen, this means that it is unlikely "Daleiden would have qualified as a journalist" during CMP's so-called investigation. 

    From the May 12 CJR report:

    More problematic for Daleiden is that no privileges protect journalists who break the law to get the news. Before entering the private meetings he filmed, he signed nondisclosure agreements with the National Abortion Federation that prohibited audio and image recording. Further, 12 states, including California, require the consent of all parties when recording audio or phone conversations. In making the secret recordings, Daleiden has been accused of violating both the nondisclosure agreement and the California consent law.

    [...]

    Daleiden’s ethics, and particularly his choices in editing the videos, raise other questions. An undercover investigation, like any inquiry that hopes to qualify as journalism, has an obligation to present information that doesn’t necessarily fit into a preconceived thesis. In the videos that Daleiden published on his website, he failed to show the audience key sequences, such as the time he attempted unsuccessfully to get one of his targets drunk in an effort to elicit damaging or inappropriate statements. He touted one video as the “harrowing story of harvesting an intact brain from a late-term male fetus whose heart was still beating”—even though outtakes show that he edited out statements indicating the fetus was dead before the brain tissue was removed.

    [...]

    A real “citizen journalist,” as Daleiden calls himself, could have created a truthful story using information he found in his investigation: the size of the fetal-tissue market, the amount of money Planned Parenthood charged private medical-research companies for samples, the types of activities that are deemed illegal and why, and thorny ethical issues involving subjects like embryonic stem cell research and patient care in clinics. He might have mentioned that the fetal-tissue market has been around for nearly a century and has led to major medical advancements. And he could have done all this while also representing the voices that decry the very existence of the tissue trade. But Daleiden did not pursue that story, just as he didn’t use undercover cameras as a last resort. The story he went after didn’t even require those James Bond techniques. Instead, he produced an intentionally emotional provocation that led to an investigation of smoke where there was no fire.

  • NPR Allows Extreme Anti-LGBT Group To Peddle Dishonest Attacks On Transgender Student Equality

    Blog ››› ››› RACHEL PERCELAY

    NPR hosted a spokesperson from an extremist anti-LGBT legal group to react to the Obama administration’s recent guidance related to transgender students in public schools. NPR failed to identify the group, Alliance Defending Freedom, as anything other than a “faith-based legal group,” and allowed the spokesperson to spread anti-LGBT misinformation.

    On May 12, The New York Times reported that the Obama administration planned to announce guidance directing all public schools to provide transgender students with access to sex-segregated facilities, such as restrooms and locker rooms, that are consistent with a student’s gender identity. On May 13, NPR’s national Morning Edition hosted attorney Matt Sharp from Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) to provide “reaction” to the guidance.

    NPR described ADF as a “faith-based legal group” and as the legal powerhouse leading the national fight against transgender student rights. But host David Greene did not mention ADF’s well-documented history of anti-LGBT extremism.

    ADF is a nonprofit with a $43-million-a-year budget that bills itself as working for the "right of people to freely live out their faith.” Much of ADF's "religious freedom" work, however, has consisted of anti-LGBT activism, including labeling the hate crime that led to the murder of gay University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard a hoax aimed at advancing the "homosexual agenda"; working internationally to criminalize gay sex; and creating its own “Day of Truth” to combat the “Day of Silence” -- a day meant to honor LGBT victims of bullying, harassment, and violence.

    On Morning Edition, NPR allowed ADF attorney Sharp to spread misinformation about transgender people typical of anti-LGBT extremists. During the segment, Sharp repeatedly misgendered transgender girls, saying the directive allows “boys” into girls’ restrooms. Letting Sharp misgender transgender people isn’t just wrong -- it also helps spread the harmful anti-LGBT “bathroom predator” myth that legal protections for transgender people will cause men to sneak into women’s bathrooms and commit sexual assault. When media outlets have previously failed to debunk the rallying cry of “no men in women’s bathrooms,” anti-LGBT extremists were successful in defeating nondiscrimination ordinances.

    NPR also allowed ADF to spread misinformation about the legal basis of the Obama administration’s directive, letting Sharp say that Title IX has “never been interpreted to include gender identity.” In fact, the Fourth Circuit, Sixth Circuit, and the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission have all ruled that Title IX’s protections on the basis of sex include gender identity.

    NPR’s ombudsman has previously acknowledged that the media organization needs to “do a better job” of identifying anti-LGBT extremists. The NPR segment did feature Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, but only in a pre-recorded 15-second clip. ADF spokesperson Matt Sharp spoke largely uninterrupted for over 4 minutes. From NPR:

    DAVID GREENE (Host): A letter is going out later today from the Obama administration to every school district in the country. It says schools must allow transgender students to use the bathroom that matches their gender identity. This move was quickly welcomed by Mara Keisling -- she’s the executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality. She says she hopes that parents can set their biases aside as the new rules are implemented.

    MARA KEISLING: There’s all sorts of kinds of kids that other people’s parents don’t feel comfortable with. And that’s not how we decide who gets to learn safely in schools. All children get to learn safely in schools.

    GREENE: And let’s hear another voice now. It’s Matt Sharp, he’s an attorney with the faith-based legal group Alliance Defending Freedom, which has opposed similar policies in public schools across the country. Mr. Sharp, good morning.

    MATT SHARP: Thank you for having me.

    GREENE: Well thanks for coming on the program, we appreciate it. Let me just ask you, I mean, the administration, this letter going out this morning, the real foundation of it is this federal law called Title IX that prohibits sex discrimination in schools. And the administration is saying this protects transgender people based on their gender identity. Tell me your reaction to that reading of the law.

    SHARP: Well, it’s completely wrong. For over 40 years now, Congress and courts that have looked at Title IX have all consistently said Title IX was meant to combat sex discrimination. It’s never been interpreted to include gender identity, and so the idea was always to ensure equal opportunities for men and women. Importantly, Title IX was specifically written to protect student privacy. It allows schools to have separate restrooms and locker rooms and dormitories on the basis of sex. So what the Obama administration is doing here is essentially rewriting the law, ignoring Congress, ignoring the normal process they’re supposed to go through to force their agenda on schools across the country.

    GREENE: Well what would you tell a family with a transgender child who identifies as a girl or a boy and believes that their girl or boy is going to school and deserves those protections under Title IX and believes very much in what the Obama administration is doing and wants their child to be protected and not discriminated against?

    SHARP: Well their child should absolutely be protected against bullying, harassment or anything else. And we’ve seen schools across the country do a great job of protecting every student under their care. But part of protection is also protecting the right of privacy. And so we’re hearing from lots of students across the country and parents saying this violates our right to privacy when we’re forced to share locker rooms, showers, and restrooms with someone of the opposite sex. And so that’s actually what motivated I think over 130 parents and students in Chicago to actually sue the federal government because they came in and forced the school to open up their restrooms and locker rooms to the opposite sex.

    GREENE: Can you understand though, that the families and parents of a transgender child who believes this is a delicate situation but that the rights of their child might be more important than sort of another child to sort of get used to a situation that he or she might find a little sensitive in a bathroom.

    SHARP: Well, but it’s not about one student’s rights being more important than another. It’s about protecting every student’s rights to privacy. And so what we’ve seen schools do is offer accommodations to any student, including transgender students, that are not comfortable with communal restrooms, allowing them to use single-stall restrooms or what’s ever available, so that they’ve got a choice. But they also have a duty to protect every other student’s constitutional right to privacy, when the courts across the country have recognized is implicated when you have got restrooms and locker rooms, and why Title IX was drafted the way it is. So schools have to protect that. And what they’re trying to do is make sure that every student has a place where they can use the restroom, change and shower, and feel comfortable, without having to break down our traditions of having separate restrooms on the basis of biological sex.

    GREENE: Let me just ask you, you’re representing 51 families in a school district in Illinois, which allows students to use bathrooms according to gender identity. And these families are fighting that policy. Can you tell me the story of just maybe one family and exactly, on a personal level, what they’re objecting to?

    SHARP: Absolutely. And so we’ve got several families there that the Obama administration came in and forced the district 211 to allow a biological boy to the female’s restrooms. So these girls are telling stories about how when they’re in the locker room changing for PE, they’re now uncomfortable knowing that a boy can walk in at any time under the school’s new policy. They talk about how one girl in particular does not change out of her gym clothes but rather wears them all day long, wears them after going to gym after getting them dirty and nasty through PE class, and then just puts her clothes on top of it, because she’s so nervous about the possibility of having to change and shower and whatnot in front of this boy. And we hear stories like that across the country of these girls speaking out and saying, “Look, we don’t want this student to be bullied or harassed or anything. But we also just want our privacy protected. And we just want to know that when we go into these lockers and shower rooms, that we’re not going to be forced to share it with someone of the opposite biological sex.” That’s all these girls are asking for.

    GREENE: Matt Sharp is an attorney with Alliance Defending Freedom, a faith-based legal advocacy group.