Authored by Zachary Steiber via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),
A spa that for years has served only women must admit men if they claim to be women, a judge has ruled.
The constitutional rights of the owners, employees, and patrons of the Olympus Spa in Washington state weren’t infringed when officials in the state ordered the facility to provide services to “transgender women” with male genitalia, Washington District Court Judge Barbara Jacobs Rothstein said in a June 5 ruling.
The spa was described by its owners, who are Christian, as being designed based on the belief that “a male and a female should not ordinarily be in each other’s presence while in the nude unless married to each other,” according to a complaint filed by the owners.
Many services provided by the spa require patrons to be fully naked, and the employees who work on-site are all female.
Requiring admission of men claiming to be women violates the Constitutional rights to freedom of speech, free exercise of religion, and freedom of association, the spa owners, workers, and patrons asserted.
Rothstein disagreed, finding that a state law called the Washington’s Law Against Discrimination “does not discriminate on its face, and it does not by its terms favor a particular religion or the non-exercise of religion.”
That means the law survives if it is rationally related to a legitimate governmental purpose. Rothstein said the law’s legitimate purpose is, as stated in the law, to protect “the public welfare, health, and peace of the people of this state.”
She also said that the Washington Human Rights Commission, which investigates complaints of violations of the law, in its order to the spa to remove language about only admitting “biological women,” didn’t infringe on the plaintiffs’ rights.
“The compelled speech to which Olympus Spa points is ‘plainly incidental’ to the [law]’s regulation of discriminatory conduct,” Rothstein said.
By way of analogy, she quoted a U.S. Supreme Court ruling: “‘Congress … can prohibit employers from discriminating in hiring on the basis of race,’ and ‘that this will require an employer to take down a sign reading “White Applicants Only” hardly means that the law should be analyzed as one regulating the employer’s speech rather than conduct.’”
The free association claim also failed because the only requirement placed on patrons was that they be female, which is outside the protection based on freedom of association, the judge said.
“The Court does not minimize the privacy concerns at play when employees are performing exfoliating massages on nude patrons. Aside from this nudity, though, there is simply nothing private about the relationship between Olympus Spa, its employees, and the random strangers who walk in the door seeking a massage,” she said. “Nor is there anything selective about the association at issue beyond Olympus Spa’s ‘biological women’ policy.
“The Court therefore has little difficulty concluding that the personal attachments implicated here are too attenuated to qualify for constitutional protection.”
Lawyers for the state and the plaintiffs didn’t respond to requests for comment.
The spa can file an amended complaint within 30 days, the judge said. She ruled in the federal case because she’s a visiting federal judge. She was appointed by former President Jimmy Carter.
The situation started when Haven Wilvich, a male who identified as a woman and hasn’t undergone sex change surgery, complained to the state commission, alleging the spa’s policy was in violation of the state law against discrimination.
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Mon, 06/12/2023 – 20:20