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SB613–The “Bathroom Bill”

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From Michael Greer at the PA Family Council

Does the Bill that Sen. Wagner and Gov. Wolf Support Open Up Bathrooms, Showers & Locker Rooms to the Opposite Sex?

Is it a Bathroom Bill?

 

We’ve been receiving a lot of questions about Senate Bill 613, sponsored by Sen. Scott Wagner and strongly supported by Gov. Tom Wolf.  The bill is sometimes referred to as the “bathroom bill.”

 

Statements by the bill’s supporters – whether in public or social media have brought serious confusion about whether the proposal would put personal privacy in bathrooms, showers and locker rooms at risk.  Sen. Wagner, for example, has said “I am not supportive of boys and girls sharing bathrooms,” but continues to back the bill which many national and state groups say would jeopardize privacy, and allow the opposite sex into privacy facilities like bathrooms.

 

Let’s look at the facts:

 

Background:

SB 613 would add “sexual orientation and gender identity or expression” to the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act. Currently, there are 18 sponsors of the legislation in the State Senate, including 14 Democrats and 4 Republicans. Laws using essentially the same language elsewhere have opened up bathrooms, showers, dressing rooms, and locker rooms to persons of the opposite sex.

 

Here’s How:

Under the concept of “gender identity or expression,” a person’s gender is determined solely on the basis of what they think they are –not their anatomy. Thus, a person who is in every way physically/anatomically a male, but “identifies” as a female, under SB 613 cannot be denied entry into a women’s locker room, dressing room, shower or bathroom.

 

Others with significant expertise on the issue agree: 

 

“If sexual orientation and gender identity were added to anti-discrimination law, then public accommodations couldn’t exclude transgender people from the restrooms that correspond to their gender identity ‘any more than you could exclude Muslims’ from an establishment.”  Mariah Passarelli, a lawyer at Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC who specializes in employment and anti-discrimination law. (This firm also lobbied for this proposal).

“Prohibiting individuals from using restrooms consistent with their gender identity would likely be interpreted to be discrimination based on gender identity in violation of the law.” Christy Mallory, of the UCLA School of Law’s Williams Institute, a think tank that researches sexual orientation and gender law and public policy. (March 12, 2018 Philadelphia Inquirer)

 

Based on all the evidence and experience in other states with similar laws, SB 613 (and its companion bill in the House) would result in opening up showers, locker rooms, dressing rooms and bathrooms to members of the opposite sex that identify or express themselves otherwise.  Those that care about personal privacy must oppose this legislation.

 

Additional resources:

  • Philadelphia Inquirer, Gender, bathroom wars and the Pa. GOP governor’s race: What are the issues?, March 12, 2018.
  • Citizen Action Center: Tell your State Senator and State Representative to oppose SB 613: tinyurl.com/dontharmpa

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