A Christian student senator at the University of California, Berkeley, is facing pressure to resign her post after abstaining from voting on a resolution condemning the White House for potentially narrowing the definition of “sex.”
After the resolution was introduced Oct. 31, Isabella Chow explained in a statement why she would not be voting for or against the measure, citing her personal Christian convictions, according to Campus Reform:
My God is one who assigns immeasurable value to and desires to love each and every human being. In God’s eyes and therefore my own, everyone of you here today and in the LGBTQ+ community as a whole is significant, valid, wanted, and loved — even if and when our views differ.
Chow went on to explain she “cannot vote for this bill without compromising my values and my responsibility to the community that elected me to represent them.”
“As a Christian, I personally do believe that certain acts and lifestyles conflict with what is good, right, and true,” the student senator wrote. “I believe that God created male and female at the beginning of time, and designed sex for marriage between one man and one woman.”
She said she made the decision to abstain from the vote — rather than vote against it — after “lengthy conversations” with community leaders and advisers.
But that didn’t stop or even slow the backlash:
"Chow reminded students of a reality that many often disregard — that UC Berkeley continues to be a toxic space for LGBTQ+ communities" https://t.co/Co5imBq3Gt
— The Daily Californian (@dailycal) November 6, 2018
Following her decision to abstain from the vote, Student Action, the party with which Chow identifies, disavowed her and cut all ties with the Christian legislator, according to The Daily Californian, an independent, student-run newspaper.
In a statement, Student Action said it remains committed to advancing LGBTQ rights on UC Berkeley’s campus.
Another student senator, Teddy Lake, who ran to represent the LGBTQ community, said she was bothered by Chow’s personal convictions, saying, “I don’t feel comfortable being told that I’m valid and then saying that you disagree with me and my community.”
“To be told that God intended it the other way, it’s diminishing and infuriating,” Lake continued. “I’m not immature. Queer and trans people have existed forever and will continue existing forever. … We rise above and around these people.”
The Rev. Franklin Graham came to Chow’s defense:
“Isabella is right when she said, ‘I can love you and still disagree with you,’” Graham wrote. “Pray for Isabella and other Christian students operating in the hostile environments of many of today’s secular university campuses.”
The resolution — and the controversy that quickly ensued — came not long after President Donald Trump’s Department of Health and Human Services proposed a return to the pre-Obama governmental understanding of the word “sex.”
Under the consideration, “sex” would define sex as a biological, unchangeable condition determined solely by genitalia.