We can’t be required to even display a license plate that says “Live Free or Die” on our car, if we object to the message; that’s what the court held in Wooley v. Maynard (1978). But New York is requiring people to actually say words that convey a message of approval of the view that gender is a matter of self-perception rather than anatomy, and that, as to “ze,” were deliberately created to convey that a message.
What’s more, according to the City, “refusal to use a transgender employee’s preferred name, pronoun, or title may constitute unlawful gender-based harassment.” The label “harassment” is important here because harassment law requires employers and businesses to prevent harassment by co-workers and patrons and not just by themselves or their own employees ...
And this isn’t just the government as employer, requiring its employees to say things that keep government patrons happy with government services. This is the government as sovereign, threatening “civil penalties up to $125,000 for violations, and up to $250,000 for violations that are the result of willful, wanton, or malicious conduct” if people don’t speak the way the government tells them to speak. Nor is this likely to stay in New York City ... the federal government is taking the view that existing federal bans on sex discrimination also in effect ban gender identity discrimination, and the New York analysis would equally apply to that view; and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has already taken the view that it is illegal under federal law to persistently call employees by pronouns that correspond to their anatomical sex but not their gender identity, though it has not yet had occasion to opine about “ze.”
NYC Kills Free Speech
Excerpts from Eugene Volokh:
By Thomas Doubting on Monday, October 31, 2016