California lawmakers on Monday moved to institute all-gender bathrooms across the state, as North Carolina legislators defend their recent anti-transgender bathroom discrimination law against a U.S. Justice Department lawsuit.
The legislation passed by the California State Assembly requires all single-stall bathrooms in any business, government agency, or public establishment to be open to all genders. California law already permits students to use bathrooms consistent with their gender identity.
“We just sent a powerful message to the nation,” Assemblyman Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), the author of AB 1732, said Monday in a statement. “This is a simple, safe, and respectful alternative to the hate being legislated in other states.”
The bill now heads to the state senate, after clearing the Democratic-led Assembly in a 55-19 vote. California NOW, Equality California, and the Transgender Law Center sponsored the legislation. The California Right to Life Committee was the sole organization to oppose it, according to the Sacramento Bee.
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The bill’s passage came the same day that the U.S. Department of Justice announced it is suing North Carolina, arguing that the state’s anti-transgender bathroom discrimination law violates the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
The administration of North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) countered by suing the federal government in defense of HB 2, which requires people to use the bathroom that corresponds to the gender listed on their birth certificate.
An analysis prepared for California’s all-gender bathroom measure cites an article published in the Journal of Public Management and Social Policy that backs gender-neutral bathroom policies:
“All people share the real human need for safe restroom facilities when we go to work, go to school, and participate in public life. Since the need is universal, one would think that it would be a priority of our society to make sure restrooms are safe and available for all people. Yet, the way gendered public restrooms are designed and constructed harms transgender and gender non-conforming people, some of whom may not conform to reified expectations of how men and women will look and act.”
Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Austin, Seattle, Santa Fe, and New York City are among the cities that already require businesses and city buildings to designate single-user restrooms as all-gender, according to California’s Transgender Law Center.