The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has imposed a new “Orwellian” mandate requiring all of its employees to use pronouns and terms preferred by individuals regardless of biological gender or sex assigned at birth, according to a legal expert.
The HHS Office of Civil Rights (OCR) issued a new “Conscience and Religious Freedom Division” (CRFD) rule on May 22, to ensure that HHS employees comply with “grammatically correct pronouns and terms of respect” for all individuals, regardless of the individual’s sex assigned at birth.
The CRFD defines “grammatically correct pronouns” as “also known as preferred pronouns,” which include terms such as ze, zir, and hir, in addition to “he” and “she.”
The CRFD order also states that HHS employees “must not deny an individual’s preferred pronoun or terms of respect due to their own religious or moral beliefs or conscience.”
The mandate is an “Orwellian” attempt to force HHS employees to “deny reality,” according to legal expert Teresa Stanton Collett.
Collett, a professor of law at the University of St. Thomas School of Law in Minneapolis, said the HHS rule violates both state and federal law, which “expressly protect employees from what HHS is doing.”
Collett added that the rule infringes on religious liberty rights and “serves only to create confusion and disharmony in the workplace.”
“The HHS’ mandate is an Orwellian effort to force persons to deny reality and accept the current fashionable notion that there can be any number of genders, including variations existing only in one’s mind. A government agency may not force persons to reject the truth,” Collett said.
She said that the HHS order, taken to its full extent, requires HHS employees to “endorse views about gender that may violate their faith or their conscience.”
Collett also said the mandate criminally punishes employees who refuse to comply with the order. She noted that the order states that “failure to comply with any provision” of the order is a punishable reflection of “immoral character” and would lead to dismissal and other forms of sanctions.
“The HHS’ mandate to deny reality and endorse any number of subjective and shifting meanings of gender identity runs headlong into the United States Constitution and laws,” Collett said.
“It flies in the face of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employers from discriminating against persons because of their sex, and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, which requires the government to accommodate the religious beliefs of persons of faith, even those employed by the government.”