Nevadans in this year’s upcoming midterm elections will decide on a ballot measure that would enshrine “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” into the state’s constitution as legally protected classes.

If passed this fall, the measure would make Nevada the first state in the nation to enshrine those two categories as protected classes in its state constitution.

The so-called “Equality of Rights Amendment,” or “Question 1” on Nevadans’ ballots would add the following provision to the Nevada state constitution:

Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by this State or any of its political subdivisions on account of race, color, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, disability, ancestry or national origin.

According to Ballotpedia, the Nevada legislature voted last year to put the measure on this year’s general election ballot. The Nevada Senate voted 18-3 in favor of the proposal, while the Nevada Assembly approved it in a 30-12 vote.

Though protecting individuals because of an “equality of rights” sounds nice – it’s hardly an innocuous move.

Adding “gender identity” as a legally protected class would give extra rights to anyone who claims to be a gender different than their biological sex. Men who believe they’re women could enter women’s locker rooms, sports teams, and any other sex-segregated facility, and any woman harmed in such a scenario could say nothing about it. Unless she wants to risk violating the law, that is.

In testimony before the legislature, Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) listed off the harms that the proposal would have. If approved by Nevadan voters this fall, the measure, according to ADF, would:

  • Open the door to government-mandated discrimination, inequality, and coercion.
  • Hurt women, religious organizations, schools and medical professionals
  • Potentially mandate that taxpayers pay for others to receive abortions.
  • Mandate that men who self-identify as women be allowed to compete for spots on female sports teams, women’s scholarships, and other academic and sports-related opportunities specifically for women.
  • Deny state financial aid to students at faith-based colleges and universities unless they abandon policies and practices reflecting their sincerely held beliefs about marriage and sexuality.

Matt Sharp, senior counsel at ADF, recently told the Washington Examiner, “There’s been many states that have enacted state laws to that effect, and we’ve seen how they’ve been misused to go after people like Jack Phillips.” You can read the Daily Citizen’s recent coverage of Jack Phillips’ ongoing legal battles here.

The measure could also negatively impact religious organizations headquartered in Nevada.

“Part of the concern is that this is going to be misused to go after religious organizations to tell them that if they want to be part of public life, if they want to be able to participate in these [state-funded] programs and serve their communities, they’ve got to violate their deeply held beliefs on these important matters of marriage and human sexuality,” Sharp added.

It’s important to note that lumping “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” into the same ideological and political push doesn’t make sense.

In our societal and political debates, often those who identify as lesbian or gay oppose the ideas and requests of those identify as transgender. In the so-called “LGBT Community,” frequently the “Ls,” “Gs,” and “Bs” are opposed to the “Ts.”

For example, consider the case of Julia Beck, a “self-described radical lesbian feminist” who was kicked off of a Baltimore commission because she “doesn’t believe transgender women are really women,” according to The Baltimore Sun.

Beck (who remember, is a lesbian) spoke out against allowing men to share sex-segregated spaces with women. “If any man, any male person can call himself a woman or legally identify as female, then predatory men will do so to gain access to women’s same-sex spaces,” Beck told Tucker Carlson, “and this puts every woman and girl at risk.”

So even though the proposed amendment purports to protect both “sexual orientation” and “gender identity,” in reality, the measure protects the later at the expense of the former.

To all voters in Nevada, Focus on the Family encourages you to VOTE “NO” on the Equality of Rights Amendment (Question 1) this November.

In every election, issues that are important to Christians are on the ballot. From the defense of preborn life to the safeguarding of religious liberties, to protecting young children from inappropriate sexual education and more, elections matter.

Christians should be good citizens and work via every avenue available to promote the common good and a well-ordered and just society. One way that can be done is through voting and the election of candidates who will work towards that end.

Only time will tell what will happen in this year’s midterm elections.

But the outcome is up to you.

Are you registered to vote this November?

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