Potty Parity and the Law

Texas has just passed a bill for "potty parity." No doubt you've noticed that everywhere from football games to symphony concerts, the lines to the men's restrooms are short while lines to the women's restrooms snake down the hallway. To provide relief to long-suffering women, the new bill requires all public facilities to build twice the number of women's restrooms compared to men's. This is not a new idea. Some places have had potty parity for decades. But the forces of feminism, ever alert to inequality between men and women, quickly spotted this serious case of discrimination. Already back in the late seventies, a feminist lawyer was arguing that potty parity cannot be countenanced under the U.S. civil rights code. If judges buy that argument, the new Texas law just might be struck down in court. And women can thank the feminist lawyer who so diligently guarded their equality. Her name was . . . Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Justice Ginsburg, I should say—the newest appointee to the high court. Ironically, from the moment of her nomination, Ginsburg was hailed as a moderate. But you can't always trust the labels the press pastes on people. After all, it takes someone pretty radical to see an extra toilet as a threat to women's equality. And "potty parity" is the least of her concerns. Ginsburg has also argued that women should be drafted whenever men are—and assigned to combat duty. She has argued that same-sex institutions ought to be banned. No more fraternities or sororities, no more Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts, no more Big Brothers or Big Sisters. Even sex-segregated prisons are discriminatory in her view. And no more soppy Mother's Day or Father's Day celebrations. Ginsburg wants them replaced with a generic Parent's Day—to "minimize," as she puts it, "sex-based differences in parental roles." But the most serious issue is abortion. Ginsburg argues that unless women have complete control over reproduction they cannot be equal with men. In her words abortion is necessary to give every woman "autonomous charge" of her life, so she can be "an independent, self-sustaining, equal citizen." It would seem that Justice Ginsburg's ideal society consists of atomistic individuals—all "independent" and "self-sustaining"—with no inherent claims on each other, no obligations. In this view, childrearing can only be seen as an infringement on personal autonomy. So watch the news accounts carefully as Justice Ginsburg takes up her duties on the Supreme Court. It is said that she is a consensus-builder, that she will influence the Court quietly. Well, if her influence goes in the direction of her philosophy, our laws may well encourage an ever-increasing fragmentation, as individuals are cut loose from the ties of moral obligation that bind us together. Today more than ever, society needs the distinctive Christian message. The Bible teaches that the basic institutions of society were created by God: marriage, family, church, and civil society. Each of these institutions makes valid moral claims on us. We are not autonomous individuals, inter-changeable units in the body politic. And if "blind justice" means ignoring those moral bonds, then it is blind to reality—and is not justice at all.


Chuck Colson


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