California Legislature Moves to Ensure Culture of Inclusion by Passing “All-Gender” Restroom BillBy Megan Clayton • August 23, 2016 • 4:33 pm
Today the California legislature passed a bill that, if enacted, would be the country’s most inclusive restroom access law.
In stark contrast to discriminatory measures proposed and in some cases passed in other states — most notoriously, North Carolina’s HB2 — Assembly Bill 1732 ensures the safety and security of transgender Californians by requiring single-occupancy restrooms in California businesses, government buildings, and places of public accommodation to be universally accessible.
The bill cleared California’s lower chamber this afternoon in a bipartisan 57-18 vote; the California Senate passed the bill on August 18. The bill was authored by Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) and is sponsored by Equality California, the Transgender Law Center and California National Organization of Women (NOW). The Golden Gate Restaurant Association, a legislative advocacy group that represents Bay Area restaurants, has also vocally supported the bill.
Now, AB 1732 heads to Governor Jerry Brown’s desk. Assemblymember Ting said that by signing this bill, Governor Brown not only has the opportunity to make transgender Californians daily lives easier but also present California as a model for other states.
“Restricting access to single use restrooms defies reason. It is a basic necessity of life and everyone should get in and out on the same terms. By signing this bill, Governor Jerry Brown can chart a new course for equality that other states should follow.”
Rick Zbur, Executive Director of Equality California, said the bill is a common-sense proposal that would bring California’s public accommodations law in line with how most public restrooms currently function.
“Our home restrooms are already all-gender. So are restrooms on airplanes and at many hospitals and gas stations. The benefits of this simple change will enable all Californians to use restrooms in a way that is more safe, fair, and convenient.”
California’s legislative action comes on the heels of an outrageous ruling earlier this week by a U.S. District Court in Fort Worth, Texas. Judge Reed Charles O’Connor granted a preliminary injunction in Texas v. United States, a case that challenges the Obama administration’s interpretation of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 to be inclusive of gender identity discrimination. The injunction was sought by 11 states in May 2016, just a few weeks after the Obama administration issued guidance instructing public schools to respect students’ gender identity for the purpose of using public restrooms and facilities.
Freedom for All Americans is proud to see lawmakers in states like California and Massachusetts—which enacted inclusive public accommodations protections earlier in the summer—taking proactive steps to secure full equality for transgender Americans. These legislative moves set a powerful example and serve as a strong rebuke to the 11 states seeking to deny transgender students equality under the law.
No one should face discrimination while doing something as simple and basic as using the restroom – that’s what this bill does, and that’s the message we should be sending across the country.