South Carolina Senator Lee Bright has introduced a sweeping anti-LGBTQ bill that has some similarities to the law recently passed in North Carolina, which is drawing the outrage of hundreds of corporations and small businesses alongside community and faith leaders.
The Washington Post reported that South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley said, “When I look at South Carolina, we look at our situations, we’re not hearing of anybody’s religious liberties that are being violated, and we’re again not hearing any citizens that feel like they’re being violated in terms of freedoms.”
Equality Federation member South Carolina Equality issued a statement:
“This law is sheer government overreach and it opens a Pandora’s box,” said Jeff Ayers, Executive Director of South Carolina Equality. “Will people need to carry their birth certificates to use the restroom? Will we see DNA testing? Gender inspections/anatomy checks and pat downs? Body scanners? Video cameras? Government simply has no place in our bathrooms”
This proposed law is unnecessary. We already have laws in place that make it illegal for anyone to enter a restroom to harm or harass people, or invade their privacy. Police already use these laws to keep people safe, make arrests, and hold criminals accountable.
All of us know what it’s like to urgently need to use the restroom. But this law is designed to make it impossible for transgender people to go about their daily lives like other people. For example, a transgender woman who was born a boy but has lived her entire adult life as a woman would risk harassment and violence if she used the men’s room, but would be subject to arrest if she used the women’s room.
Ayers noted that we all care about safety in restrooms, which is why it’s important to know that allowing transgender people to use the restroom that matches the gender they live everyday doesn’t compromise that. “In fact, more than 200 cities and 17 states across the U.S. have passed and successfully implemented laws that protect transgender people from discrimination in public places, with no increase in public safety incidents.” said Ayers. “The idea that men would pretend to be transgender to sneak into a women’s restroom has been debunked by law enforcement experts, government officials and women’s safety advocates in cities and states across the country”.
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