- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
Michael Turner has modified his tone about the Fairness for All Marylanders Act in 2014 in his second letter, eschewing the pejorative name bestowed on the bill by opponents, “the bathroom bill” [“Common sense revisited,” Maryland Independent, June 4].
Of course, the focus is still on bathrooms; he continues to ignore the wider provisions of this bill, preventing discrimination by gender identity in labor and employment practices, in housing, as well as other public accommodations besides bathrooms and locker rooms.
However, he repeats his invocation of all those local sex offenders out there, all just waiting for the opportunity to enter an opposite-sex bathroom, under the guise of transgenderism. The writer calls this “prudence” but cannot cite any statistic other than the number of “registered sex offenders in Southern Maryland” along with the ominous “and these are just the ones we know about,” just in case those 1,300 out of 210,000 people don’t scare you enough.
He speaks of “any one” of those posing as transgender to gain access to a public facility — an activity that is likely to make his risk population even smaller. His fear of a stranger accosting his granddaughter in a public rest room also ignores that, according to the Maryland Attorney General’s Office, 70 to 80 percent of all sexual offenses against minors are committed by someone known to the child.
The writer prefers not to call this “fear-mongering,” but it’s clearly emotionalism in “argument” replacing any serious consideration of the chances of his scenario occurring. It’s likely that one is more prone to being injured in a car accident than for the scenario to come about. Do I have a statistic about that? No. But I’m not asserting a vague need to prevent poor drivers from being out on the roads.
Seventeen other states and numerous municipalities already have the same level of anti-discrimination laws in place to protect transgender individuals as are afforded in the Maryland Fairness Act — some for several years, long enough to have seen actual statistics and opinions from law enforcement personnel in those areas that such protections have not contributed to any perceived increase in sexual offenses.
It appears that the rebuttal of my criticism consists of nothing more than reasserting the original premise, while denying that he is fear-mongering. He provides no new argument than the emotional brew that he provided in his first letter — and the second half of his response returns to his political purposes. One has to wonder at the political acumen of a Charles County Republican Central Committee official who ends up “commending” a pair of Democratic legislators over a single issue like this, while not even attempting to make any specific endorsements of fellow Republican Party hopefuls.
I suppose the response was written and submitted too soon to acknowledge that the conservative-sponsored petition drive to place the Fairness for All Marylanders Act on the ballot for a public referendum failed to acquire the minimum number of signatures by May 31 to continue the process? Guess all those worries about bathrooms don’t resonate that well in most Marylanders’ concerns.
Richard Kinsch, La Plata