In Las Vegas, the Clark County Library District paid more than $4,000 for a Pride Day event including a “drag queen storytime.” Local media outlet 360News Las Vegas obtained the contracts via public information requests. Clark County Commissioner Tick Segerblom, running for re-election in District E, attended the event, and posed with children and a drag performer.
But, on transgender issues, a majority of Nevadans do not support men identifying as women competing in women’s sports or using women’s restrooms, according to a survey published by Rasmussen Reports on Friday.
Drag Queen bingo winners!! Parkdale and Tsunami rock! pic.twitter.com/wZgLAdAijw
— Tick Segerblom (@tsegerblom) October 15, 2022
However, the polling on the “Equal Rights Amendment” (ERA), on the ballot in Nevada as Question 1, does not reflect those voter sentiments. As with most ballot measures, the voters are confused. The polling shows that even 47% of Republican voters are in favor of the proposed amendment to the state constitution.
"If you knew that Nevada’s Question 1 would allow biological males to compete in women's sports would you support or oppose Question 1?"
13% strongly support
13% somewhat support
12% somewhat oppose
55% strongly oppose
7% not sure
— Rasmussen Reports (@Rasmussen_Poll) October 21, 2022
Karen Barton England, President of Capitol Resource Institute tells RedState,
The poll showed a majority support Question 1, also known as “equal rights,” but the minute they find out what that means for gender identity and expression, the numbers flip.
The Nevada GOP has published a slate that recommends voting No on Question 1, citing the part on biological men in women’s sports. Clark County Republican Party Chairman Jesse Law explains the discrepancies between Republican-held ideologies and the ERA polling statistics, telling RedState,
There is a huge attitude of letting other people chart their own course, people are in favor of that as Republicans. The ‘free’ disposition of 47% of Republicans in favor of people charting their own course makes sense to me. “Yeah, just leave everyone alone, please,” is their normal response. But, we are not talking about that when creating special privileges to intrude on the privacy of women and children. I don’t want to disenfranchise women in sports.
The GOP is not the only political party in Nevada that has put forth a guide that opposes Question 1; the Libertarian Party of Nevada is also telling voters not to approve the question.
The LPNV voter’s guide says:
We oppose this initiative on principle. Our rights come to us as individuals, not as members of any group or class. It is immoral for the state to deny or abridge the natural rights of any person, for any reason. To delineate special groups of people as needing additional rights or protections undermines the concept of individual rights and is antithetical to a free society.
This language is poisonous, and should be avoided at all costs. If we fail to reject identity politics – root and branch – we doom our society to future struggles.
Issue Proponent, Pat Spearman
PBS reports that Nevada’s proposed amendment would be the most progressive and expansive ERA codification in the nation:
Question 1 would amend Nevada’s Constitution to ensure equal rights for all, “regardless of race, color, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, disability, ancestry, or national origin,” a more wide-ranging amendment than the federal ERA that Nevada adopted in 2017, which outlaws discrimination based on sex, though the push to ratify it in the U.S. Constitution remains gridlocked.
In the contentious debate over whose rights should be protected, those for and against the amendment agree: if passed, Nevada would have the most expansive Equal Rights Amendment of the 26 states to adopt their own ERA.
Democrat state Senator Pat Spearman is a major proponent of the ERA in Nevada. Spearman is the first black and openly lesbian legislator, who is campaigning to be North Las Vegas Mayor, amid reports of a shooting that took place in her home last Thursday evening.
In 2017, Spearman was the tip of the spear in the state’s ratification ERA on the federal level, coming 38 years after the congressional deadline for two-thirds of the states to adopt. The Nevada legislature rejected adopting the ERA in 1973, 1975, and again in 1977. The following year, the ERA appeared on the ballot and was lost by a two-to-one margin. Now, with Spearman’s help, the question is back on the ballot.
Nonprofit Opposition Voices
Nevada Family Alliance, a program of Capitol Resource Institute, along with Alliance Defending Freedom, warns that the ERA will undermine religious freedoms that will be reflected in many sectors of society.
NEVADA QUESTION 1: https://t.co/Nf2PnljCk9
— NFA (@NevadaFamily) October 19, 2022
ADF outlines harm to women and girls in sports, academics, economic opportunities, and privacy. They also point to impacts on religious schools, and non-profit organizations that coerce them into abandoning their beliefs and convictions, writing that it:
… would deny state financial aid to students at faith-based colleges and universities unless they abandon policies and practices reflecting their sincerely held beliefs about marriage and sexuality. It would significantly threaten the many social service organizations that receive state grants to enable them to better serve the most vulnerable among us every day. These organizations would be prohibited from living out their beliefs about marriage or human sexuality as a condition of continuing to receive state funding.
Other points of opposition from ADF indicate harms to healthcare professionals and the inclusion of taxpayer-funded abortions:
Health professionals take an oath to “do no harm.” And yet many doctors, counselors, and healthcare practitioners believe that prescribing puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and bodily cosmetic surgery to otherwise healthy children who are struggling with their gender identity causes grave and often irreversible harm. Under S.J.R. 8, these healthcare professionals would be forced to either violate their oath to care for patients in accordance with their best medical judgment, or leave the medical profession altogether.
Several states have also interpreted nearly identical amendments to mandate taxpayer funding for abortion. In New Mexico Right to Choose/NARAL v. Johnson, 975 P.2d 841 (N.M. 1998), the New Mexico Supreme Court held that a similar amendment provides for a broader state constitutional right to abortion. As a result, the court struck down restrictions on the use of taxpayer funding to pay for abortions.
Barton England tells RedState that enshrining the ERA in the state constitution leaves the legislature without the ability to resolve the unintended or unrealized consequences, saying,
I think the biggest concern is the consequence of including gender identity and gender expression in the state constitution. This means the legislature can’t fix any unintended consequences, although I believe they know that and still want what it does. This erases women and girls, and the ramifications are far-reaching.
Religious freedom and parental rights advocates are not alone in their opposition, as segments of the LGB (“without the T”) community join the conversation about the effects of the ERA. Haley Shane is a member of Gays Against Groomers (GAG), who calls herself “an actual f***** lesbian”, and writes a blog on Substack from a gender-critical perspective. GAG’s website describes its organization:
We are a coalition of gays against the sexualization, indoctrination and medicalization of children.
Shane explains the origins of ‘LGB without the T’ movement in contrast to GAG’s larger mission, telling RedState,
The way that I look at it is there are lesbians, gay men, and bisexuals that do not support the trans rhetoric and how they have kind of hijacked the gay rights movement. I think they are kind of two separate things; ‘LGB without the T’ started as a social movement.
Our gay men and lesbians are having a really hard time with it too, because we are being told that trans-women are women, and if you are a lesbian that doesn’t want to have sex with someone with a penis, you are being told that you are a transphobe. So, they are infiltrating our communities too. Gay people are being told that they are homophobes. That’s ridiculous. It’s actually ridiculous.
Alongside the sexual identities of gays, lesbians, and bisexuals being taken from them, Shane says that many from the LGB community became more outspoken when the transgender issues became child-focused,
Transgender started to be more in the mainstream media and 95% of people didn’t care, but then they tried to say that kids can be born in the wrong body and that they should take hormones and puberty blockers. Anyone in that crowd that was rational and reasonable said, ‘Oh absolutely f****** not, we’re not doing that!’ and drew the line.
This is where we drew the line. No one gives a s**** what adults do, but when you start bringing children into it that’s where people are going to draw the line, and that is where GAG came from.
Once again reminding everyone that the last thing a confused person needs is validation. https://t.co/qufIlcvLXI
— Haley Shane (@iamhaleyshane) October 11, 2022
Shane is a kickboxer who opposes biological men competing in women’s sports. Speaking to the most commonly cited impact of legislation like ERAs, Shane says,
The first actual issue, specifically men competing in women’s sports, I think that it’s ridiculous when there are bio-advantages in sports. I saw an MMA fight where a man had “transitioned” to a woman simply by identifying as a woman, and without taking any sort of hormones or any assignment surgery, he literally just said “I’m a woman now”– and that was enough. He was allowed to compete in the women’s cage matches and beat the absolute s*** out of these women.
It was not the UFC, by the way, Dana White said that he would be 6 feet in the ground before he would ever let it happen in the UFC.
Describing the disenfranchisement of women and girls in sports, Shane says,
I think it’s stupid that we fought so hard to have women’s sports just to let men compete in them anyway, just because they weren’t good enough to compete with men. They don’t get to trample on women’s sports, it’s b*******. You get a girl that starts training at five, six, seven, or eight years old, and trains her entire life to do whatever sport she is doing, works her a** off, only for a man with a mental illness to come in and win everything that she should be winning, because he’s not a woman.
As reflected in the positions from the Nevada Republican and Libertarian Parties, along with the nonprofit religious freedom and parental rights organizations, Shane warns voters about the approval of Question 1 in Nevada, saying:
“Think very long-term about what it is that you are actually voting for because it is not what it appears to be.”