Tucker Carlson, from Fox News, takes to task Robin Biro, a Democratic strategist, who likes a proposed California law, SB 219, that would jail senior citizen healthcare workers who refuse to use the preferred pronouns of those identifying as transgender.
Watch the or read the debate below. Learn more about SB 219 here.
TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS: The following is a real news story. It’s not a joke. A legislator in California has introduced legislation that if it passes will impose prison time on people who fail to use other people’s preferred pronounces.
State Senator Scott Wiener’s bill would applied nursing homes under elderly care facilities. It would impose up to a year in prison on caregivers who, quote, “willfully and repeatedly failed to use a transgender residence preferred name or pronounce.”
Robin Biro was a Democratic strategist, he supports all of this. He joins us tonight. Robin, thanks for coming on. So, it doesn’t sound very American. The idea that you go to jail if you say something someone else doesn’t want you to say? Don’t we have a bill of rights that would prevent that?
ROBIN BIRO, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Absolutely. The First Amendment. And let me say this. I want to expose my own ignorance to this issue. I myself was ignorant to this issue until I actually read the bill and got informed. And what I found out in the bill, it actually says that there was a 2011 survey that is a bit dated. But it did showed that there were 6,456 respondents and 28 percent of those suffered harassment actually from medical providers.
Nine percent of those — these are LGBT elders. They had been denied care.
So that necessitated this bill. Let’s be fair that I think you’re cherry picking because this bill is not just about transgender use of pronounces and all of that. It’s about all of LGBT rights being included in the patient’s bill of rights.
CARLSON: Okay. Slow down. And I’m sure there’s lots of things I wouldn’t agree with in the bill. And just to be totally clear, I think you should call people what they want to be called. You know? You should be polite to people and I tried to be. But there’s a principle at stake here that you’re ignoring for political reasons that I’m a little surprised that you are. And that is a really simple one. It’s called free speech.
And you have the right to express your view. And if other people don’t like it, they don’t like it. But you can’t be put in prison for saying what you think is true. And this bill seems to ignore that longstanding right that we’ve enjoyed, and I find it terrifying for that reason.
BIRO: And I knew you were going to say that. I will contend that these are employees, they are regulated by the government. They already have a patient’s bill of rights that addresses some of these. What is left out are protections for the LGBT community. They are already — let’s look at this, Tucker if you will. The elderly community is already a marginalized community.
But think about the fact if you were LGBT or even like the worst, trans- gender, they’re probably the most disenfranchised. They are the most vulnerable. And I want to say this. Just consider if you will, I am myself an openly gay. Say 30 years from now I’ve been in a relationship for a couple of decades and this bill wasn’t in place, it would deny my partner the ability to come and visit me because a nurse might have a problem with it.
CARLSON: No. But again, you’re skirting the point that I’m making, which is, this bill criminalizes speech. If you use the wrong word, you can be put in jail. That is grotesque. And I understand that you’re enthusiastic about expanding rights for LGBT elders. Okay? But why in the world would you as an American who once wore the uniform support a bill that would criminalize speech?
BIRO: Because elder abuse is inherently wrong. And I will read the bill –
CARLSON: Slow down. Speech is not abuse.
BIRO: No. I’m talking about abuse. This is — understand this. Misusing someone’s pronoun is abuse. We see all the time people do this as a form of abuse. I follow the alt-right blogs where they call Michelle Obama a man. That is abusive.
CARLSON: Should they go to jail for that?
BIRO: No. But if it’s done in a medical thing — hold on. Constituted, Tucker is prolonged continuous intentional abuse by a healthcare provider.
That is abuse. That should be criminal.
CARLSON: It should be criminal. Okay. What about thinking it? What if I have unpleasant thoughts about you and you could somehow find out I had them. Should you go to jail, too?
BIRO: No, that’s human nature.
CARLSON: Oh, human nature.
BIRO: That is human nature.
CARLSON: But using the wrong pronounce should get me — how many times, okay, well, “abuse” is a subjective term. We’re not talking about physical abuse. We’re talking about saying something that person hearing it doesn’t like.
BIRO: Mental abuse.
CARLSON: Oh, mental abuse, right. Which is totally a subjective category once again. How many times would I have to misuse a pronoun before I went to prison?
BIRO: It has to be — I already gave you a three criteria. Prolonged, continuous intentional abuse by a health care provider.
BIRO: There has to be a history —
CARLSON: Let’s stop using euphemism here and let’s just get to the core facts. How many times would I have to misuse a pronoun before the police came, handcuffed me and sent me to a prison cell?
BIRO: That’s not just a pronounce. Like I said, you’re cherry picking.
CARLSON: I’m not cherry picking.
BIRO: This also is a —
CARLSON: No, no, but the bill says a lot of things.
BIRO: Because the bill —
CARLSON: No, but it also says what I’m saying it says. I’m not making this up.
BIRO: I know.
CARLSON: But what I care about is the criminalization of speech. And I’m asking you a very simple question. How many times do I need to use the wrong pronoun before police with guns show up at my house and handcuff me and deprived me of my freedom and throw me in a prison cell? How many times? Four times, five times? How many times?
BIRO: That has not been — I posted the entire bill on my Twitter @RobinBiro. You can read the entire bill. It does not say a specific
CARLSON: You’re dodging it. You’re dodging it. Last question. There are a lot of things that I don’t like to hear. People call me names. I find it abusive. I have mental anguish as a result, let’s say. Should they go to jail for that?
BIRO: If they are your healthcare provider and they do it intentionally to mentally abuse you and as stated on the wall in the healthcare bill of rights, yes.
BIRO: And if they do it over and over —
CARLSON: Yes. These are like a minimum wage workers and you’re like, you know what I mean? Bullying them basically. It’s so weird. I wonder — I hope you’ll watch this tape when this is over and ask yourself if you’re really on the right side of this question. Because it used to be like people have their opinions they can expressed it but no one threatened to send them to jail.
BIRO: Listen, like I said, I didn’t used to be on the right side of this issue. But I read the bill and educated myself. And I get it.
CARLSON: Okay. Thanks, Robin. I appreciate it.