Governor Nikki Haley Comes Out Against Gender-Affirmation Law in South Carolina

Gender Neutral Restroom AP Toby Talbot
AP/Toby Talbot

Gov. Nikki Haley is criticizing a proposed gender-recognition law in the South Carolina legislature that would affirm and preserve the normal practice of reserving separate bathrooms for men and for women.

“I don’t believe it’s necessary,” Haley said Wednesday, amid growing progressive hostility to the gender-affirmation law.

Many state legislatures are looking into the issue as progressive groups try to minimize legal recognition of the many average differences between male and female preferences. The progressives are also using social pressure to stigmatize the long-evolved public and scientific recognition that men and women, and girls and boys, on average, prefer to live, work, socialize, and play in different ways.

For example, neighboring North Carolina has been hit with an avalanche of progressive and corporate attacks over its law prohibiting transgender people from using bathrooms that don’t match their biological gender. Transgender people are either men or women who prefer to live like the opposite gender, and sometimes even undergo risky surgical removal of their genitalia.

That progressive hostility to the affirmation of male and females genders is wrapped up in their demand for greater government support of transgender people. If successful, government hostility to gender differences would force a fundamental change from current practice, under which the vast majority of Americans do not see, or else politely ignore, the relatively few men who try to live like women, and the few women who try to live like men. If progressives succeed, for example, then women would be legally required to pretend that a man in a bathroom for women and girls is really a woman.

The proposed South Carolina gender-affirmation law is intended to legally and socially bolster the current ability and rights of men and women to adopt and use social rules that best match their male and female natures. The law “is just common sense,” said conservative South Carolina State Sen. Lee Bright, who is one of the bill’s advocates.

In her response, Haley tried to avoid the central problem — the progressives’ goal of blurring and erasing social distinctions between male and female — by casting the issue as a religious-right matter. “When I look at South Carolina, we look at our situations, we’re not hearing of anybody’s religious liberties that are being violated, and we’re again not hearing any citizens that feel like they’re being violated in terms of freedoms,” Haley said on Thursday.

In January, Haley aligned herself with the GOP’s establishment and against populist insurgents Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz.

The South Carolinian governor clearly hopes to head off the troubles North Carolina has seen. Companies such as Paypal, and entertainment franchises such as movie makers, the NBA, and the NFL have threatened to hurt the state if it does not submit to the progressives’ anti-gender policy.

Progressives are also determined to stigmatize any opposition to their anti-gender agenda. For example, the Washington Post described the popular support for the gender-affirmation proposal as “a mounting backlash over a law prohibiting transgender people from using bathrooms that don’t match the gender they were assigned at birth.” That criticism hides the remarkable claim that the gender or sex of a person is determined by their wishes, not by their biology.

It is difficult to figure just how many Americans claim to be transgender. The most generous estimate by friendly outlets such as The New York Times insist that at least 700,000 people identify as transgender.

But that number still represents a tiny 0.2 or 0.3 percent of the nation’s population of 320 million people. If progressives have their way, more than 90 percent of Americans will have to abandon their long-evolved social practices just to help raise the social status of one in 300 to 400 people.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at


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