BENTONVILLE, Ark. — A Christian legal group is expressing opposition to a recent proposal by the attorney for the retail giant Walmart that would add “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to an Arkansas school district’s hiring policies.
Grant Lightle serves as attorney for the Bentonville-based business, and also is a board member for the Bentonville Public School District. According to reports, Lightle recently suggested changes to the district policy, which sparked debate among board members, as well as parents who became aware of the proposal.
As a result, Superintendent Michael Poore asked the board to hold off on making a decision about the matter until the U.S. Supreme Court issue its ruling on same-sex “marriage” next month.
“It seems to make sense to me that we do try and get out of in front from doing it without really knowing where federal law could actually impact where we stand on this particular issue,” he said.
Now, the Christian legal group Liberty Counsel has contacted the board to ask that it reject the additions due to negative ramifications that it believes could result from the changes.
“[W]here the category of ‘gender identity’ in particular has been adopted, it has led to documented harms consisting of a) confused (at best, and fetishist at worst) cross-dressing adult role models being placed before children in years formative to the children’s own identities; b) biological adult males being given free reign to invade private spaces of
women and girls; and c) a chilling effect on student and employee expression of Christian sexual ethics and moral values, in violation of the First Amendment,” it wrote in a letter on Wednesday.
Liberty Counsel noted that there have also been controversies at Walmart and other locations after the company added special protections for gender identity, such as the outcry of nearly 40 female employees in Billings, Montana who expressed concern about a male co-worker who used the women’s restroom because he dressed as a woman.
The Northwest Arkansas Center for Equality, however, says that it is supportive of the changes as it believes school staff that identify as transgender need to be protected from discrimination.
“Like all teachers, local LGBTQ teachers are talented professionals committed to helping Bentonville students succeed. How much longer must they wait before receiving the same basic protections as their straight colleagues?” it said in a recent statement to reporters.
“Superintendent Michael Poore’s suggestion that updating a local school district policy requires a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court is ridiculous and insulting,” the group continued. “This vote reinforces that some teachers committed to educating Bentonville’s youth remain a second class in the eyes of the school district and at risk for discrimination.”
Mat Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel, opined that the protection of students is what needs to be considered the most in the situation.
“The push for transgender rights is all a part of the homosexual agenda to create sexual anarchy in order to destroy marriage, morality, and objective truth,” he stated in a press release on Friday. “This is not civil rights; this is the abolition of civil rights. It is the deconstruction of objective reality and natural law.”