It's easy to ridicule North Carolina's new anti-LGBT law, but it's actually very disturbing. The idea that Tar Heel politicians felt such an urgent need to start policing bathrooms that they held an emergency session inspires mockery, not fear. But the law, passed with little review late last month, has a sinister side as well.
Make no mistake, however. There's nothing gender neutral about having a baby. Pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum recovery are strictly women's issues. Since healthy women are the foundation for producing healthy babies, the design of any family leave program must prioritize the needs of women over those of men.
Such an opinion by Chief Justice Roberts would not only strengthen the decision but put into the Supreme Court's toolbox the importance of viewing discrimination against someone on the basis of her sexual orientation as simple sex discrimination. This would help bring "heightened scrutiny" into consideration in future gay-rights cases.
This is an opportunity to educate the general population that discrimination on the basis of gender identity and expression, which encompasses tens of millions of people, is illegal and harmful to the bottom line. This is an opportunity to humanize and overcome ignorance and fear so that there is no desire to deny employment in the first place.
History is divided on whether adding sex discrimination to the list of no-nos in the 1964 Civil Rights Act was meant to be a joke or a death knell for the bill. Either way, with women still making 77 cents on the dollar compared to men and the courts now firmly on the side of corporations, the joke is on women now.