Jordan Laird – The Columbus Dispatch
Governor Mike DeWine failed the people of Ohio, especially vulnerable children, with his recent action of vetoing House Bill 68 (HB 68, known as the SAFE Act). While his weakness only allows for continued harm to the people of his state, it is imperative that, as Frontline leads a movement in Georgia that affects the entire nation, we speak up against this feckless action with moral and qualitative clarity.
Our opponents hope that Mike DeWine’s actions have a chilling effect on the national narrative. Public opinion is against males playing in women’s sports and against the castration, sterilization, and mutilation of children. As the politics, science, and morality have all aligned, we have seen sweeping victories across the country. DeWine, a moderate Republican, halts progress in a deep red state, and the media and those who push radical gender ideology will seek to make him a poster child.
As we approach 2024, the policy battles, political campaigns, and culture discussions, this is a “no compromise” issue. Politicians who strain to define what a woman is, cannot definitively declare gender to be an immutable characteristic, and refuse to protect children from barbarism, groomers, exploitation, shared bathrooms, and unfair competition are unworthy of our support.
Now, let’s be clear. This veto is a setback. It refuses to protect girls and places vulnerable children in harm’s way. Below, we will run through some of the arguments our opponents hide behind, but there is one reason for DeWine’s failure: capitulation to the powerful.
Even DeWine’s stated reasoning behind the veto, which blocks protections for minors from irreversible gender procedures and the preservation of women’s sports, is not just flawed, but reckless and immoral. However, the underlying reality is that, far too often, millions of dollars pour from the coffers of those who profit from this wicked ideology. They buy influence and twist the narrative.
We cannot let them get away with it.
Here in Georgia, we have had some wins. However, there is more work to do. With Frontline pushing key legislation to strengthen protections, we know that we will hear many of the lies used by those championing DeWine’s decision.
Here are their false arguments:
1. “This is an example of government overreach and an intrusion on parental rights”
False Reasoning: In an attempt to appeal to “Republicans” some so-called moderates are using the line that this should be a family decision and the government should just “stay out of it.”
Frontline’s Response: This is a gross misuse of conservative principles. Invoking parental rights and limited government in this case is a complete facade and one that overlooks the state’s crucial role in protecting vulnerable children, just as it does in instances of child abuse and neglect. At Frontline, we champion genuine parental rights, as evidenced by our advocacy for Georgia’s Parental Bill of Rights. However, DeWine and others distort these values, ignoring the legitimate government responsibility to prevent harm to minors from irreversible and experimental medical procedures they do not fully grasp.
Ohio Senator JD Vance accurately highlights this misrepresentation:
2. “This will lead ‘transgender’ children to commit suicide”
False Claim: Opponents will focus on suicide among the “transgender community” and argue that denying them the ability to receive life-altering surgery or impose themselves on women’s spaces and sports teams will lead many to take their lives.
Frontline’s Response: This stance is misleading and unsupported by empirical evidence. Contrary to his claims, studies show no evidence that “reassignment” surgeries effectively reduce the suicide rate among teens. In fact, the data indicates that youth suicides have increased, particularly in states that offer broader access to transgender surgeries to minors. As of 2020, these states saw an average of 3.5 more suicides per 100,000 in the 12 to 23 age group compared to states with restricted access (shown below).
DeWine and others are not just blatantly ignoring the disturbing realities of sex-change surgeries, but actively endorsing deceptive narratives – the same ones that are propagated by leftist interests and Big Pharma.
Additionally, this argument accepts a lie as the premise for another lie. “Gender Affirming Care” is a misnomer of epic proportions. Affirming someone’s gender means affirming how God made them – an immutable characteristic. It is not loving to tell someone they need harmful surgery in order to be happy. Providing support to help someone realign with their biology is the only proven method of reducing suicide and depression. According to the American Psychiatric Association’s “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders,” an astounding 88% to 98% of children struggling with gender dysphoria, but who do not transition socially, will come to accept their biological sex after going through puberty.
3. “This is a solution in search of a problem”
False Claim: Radical transgender activists often claim that measures to prohibit biological men from women’s sports and to protect children from regret from transgender surgeries are addressing non-existent issues.
Frontline’s Response: To say these are non-existent issues is to deny reality and ignore the rapidly growing number of heartbreaking stories from detransitioners and female athletes forced to compete with biological men. Just ask Chloe Cole, Helena Kerschner, Riley Gaines, Paula Scanlan, and countless others. Every case where a biological male competes in female sports is a case of injustice. Every case where a detransitioner is silenced for standing against the woke ideology that harmed them is appalling. These are not hypothetical issues. Trophies, opportunities, and scholarships are currently being ripped from female athletes. Men and women are living with the regret of being pressured as children to undergo experimental procedures. Ignoring these realities not only belittles the stories of detransitioners and the hard work of female athletes but also sets a precedent that could irrevocably damage the lives of children and the integrity of women’s sports at all levels.
What’s Next for Ohio
There remains a glimmer of hope in Ohio. The General Assembly initially passed HB68 with a supermajority and holds the power to override Governor DeWine’s detrimental veto. We emphatically urge the Ohio legislature to act decisively, reflecting the will of the majority of Americans who advocate for the protection of children and the preservation of women’s sports.
Additionally, we call upon the citizens of Ohio to remember the actions of those who stood up and who spoke out against evil when they next cast their votes and to lend their support to the Center for Christian Virtue, our counterpart organization that remains steadfast in its commitment to these crucial issues in Ohio and is leading the charge to fight back.
Continuing the Fight in Georgia
In recent years, Frontline took a determined stand against radical gender ideology. We have passed measures that prevent boys from playing girls’ sports and should protect kids from “reassignment” surgeries and hormone “replacement.” Unlike Ohio, we had the support of Governor Kemp and key leaders in the legislature.
However, several moderate Republicans conspired to make these efforts as watered-down as possible. They, like DeWine, were heavily influenced by the woke medical industry.
While theoretically banning surgeries and hormone treatments, the “reassignment” bill here allows for puberty blockers and a false “medically necessary exception,” making it the weakest language of its kind in the country.
We are grateful for leadership in the House that worked with us to remove protections for woke doctors, and we appreciate those who worked in good faith to achieve the most possible. However, we will not forget the faux-conservative members who bowed to the demands of liberal interests, sided with insane “gender theory,” and advocated for weakness.
We remain committed to the cause, fighting to ensure that the well-being of our children and the fairness of girls’ sports are not compromised.
As the 2024 Legislative Session in Georgia rapidly approaches, your involvement becomes more crucial than ever. Here’s how you can make a difference:
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The Frontline organizations are Frontline Policy Council, a 501(c)3, and Frontline Policy Action, a 501(c)4. These are Christian entities seeking to impact the political, policy, and culture spaces in Georgia. Launched in 2021, the organizations have quickly grown into a force at the Capitol, the ballot box, and across our state with a significant network of activists and faith leaders. We are an organization that is known, respected, principled, measured, and effective. Our tone and focus are those of victorious leadership, not simply making noise.