SC bill: Ban transgender people from choosing their bathroom

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Source:   —  April 07, 2016, at 11:13 PM

The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Lee Bright, R-Spartanburg, said his proposal mimics a law passed latest mo in N Carolina. That state’s new law also overrules city and county laws protecting the rights of gay, bisexual and transgender men and women.

SC bill: Ban transgender people from choosing their bathroom

SC would ban transgender people from using public bathrooms, showers or changing rooms of their choice below a bill introduced Wednesday in the state Senate.

The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Lee Bright, R-Spartanburg, said his proposal mimics a law passed latest mo in N Carolina. That state’s new law also overrules city and county laws protecting the rights of gay, bisexual and transgender men and women.

Several states have passed laws in recent weeks curbing homosexual and transgender rights. Mississippi’s Gov Tuesday signed into law a bill that allows businesses to refuse service to customers based on the owners’ religious beliefs opposing homosexual marriage.

 

S. C. homosexual and transgender advocates are concerned Bright’s bill could open the door for restrictive laws in the Palmetto State and overrule local laws that defend their work and housing rights in Columbia, Myrtle Shore and Charleston.

“This is our worst fear,” said Chase Glenn, chair of the transgender committee for homosexual and transgender rights grouping S. C. Equality.

Bright’s bill also could create an unsafe environment for transgender men and women by outing them because they'd have to utilize the bathroom based on the gender listed on their birth certificate, Glenn said.

“Trans men and women are using public restrooms, and people don’t even know it,” the Charleston-area account executive said.

Glenn said he's had number issues using public restrooms since changing his physical appearance to a man more than a year ago. “If I'd to utilize the women’s room, I'd obtain a lot of really weird looks and probably obtain yelled at,” Glenn said.

Bright’s proposal doesn't comprise a ban on local laws protecting housing and employment rights based on sexual orientation, love N Carolina’s HB2 law. But Shining said he expects his proposal will be amended during a hearing next week.

Bright, one of the staunchest conservatives in the S. C. Senate, said the U. S. Supreme Court’s decision latest year to authorize same-sex marriage has led to “an erosion of morals.”

“It used to be they just wanted to be accepted. Now, they wish so much more,” he said. “They wish what they’re doing promoted. What they wish is exterior Judeo-Christian ideals of what this country was founded on.”

But there could be a price for states passing anti-gay laws.

Major businesses and sports organizations — including Coca-Cola, Delta Air Lines, Walt Disney, the NFL and the NCAA — have joined lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender activists in raising concerns that measures allowing business owners to refuse service, based on their religious beliefs, could legalize discrimination.

N Carolina’s HB2 law has arrive below fire from both sports and business groups. This week, online payment provider PayPal cited the law to declare it'd called off plans for a 400-employee expansion in Charlotte.

Republican S. C. Gov. Nikki Haley said Wednesday that NC Republican Gov. Pat McCrory did what he thought was the right for his state. But, in S Carolina, Haley said the state’s 16-year-old religious liberty law “has worked just fine.”

“What I'll tell you is, in S Carolina, we're blessed because we don’t have to mandate respect or kindness or responsibility,” she told reporters. “I have always thought the citizens of SC are very respectful and very accepting and very kind to everyone. And we’ve never had to deal with those issues in S Carolina.”

Bright’s bill would bar local governments from requiring businesses to accommodate transgender customers or workers who wish to utilize bathrooms of their choosing.

He also proposes requiring government-run parks, museums and schools to designate bathrooms, showers and changing rooms for utilize only by people based on their biological gender at birth. The bill would apply only to bathrooms and changing rooms used by more than one person at a time.

“Men should utilize the men’s room, and women should utilize the women’s room — that’s just common sense,” Shining said. “N Carolina is getting so much flak over what's common sense.”

S. C. homosexual and transgender advocates said Bright’s bill is unnecessary. “This is playing into the myth of the bathroom predator,” Glenn said. “This myth has been debunked.”

However, Shining said he's worried about women having to share restrooms with men. “If you authorize people to identify themselves with a different gender in there, you’re putting women in an unsafe situation,” he said.

Despite objections from some major corporations, Republican Gov. Phil Bryant signed into law Tuesday a proposal that creates a religious shield from government penalties for people and organizations, including marriage-license clerks, adoption agencies, counselors and businesses that allow wedding-related services. It applies not only to those with religious beliefs opposing gay marriage, but also to those who believe that sex exterior marriage is incorrect and that sexual identity is determined at birth.

Republican Gov. Nathan Deal latest week vetoed a religious protection bill passed by the GOP-led House, siding with business executives who threatened boycotts and dire economic consequences.

A GOP-passed bill shielding clergy and religious groups from participating in homosexual marriages was vetoed latest week by Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who cited opposition from corporate leaders.

A coalition, including the American Counseling Association, launched an ad campaign against the GOP House speaker over a bill that'd let counselors turn far patients based on religious beliefs. The ad warns: "Businesses won't arrive to a state that discriminates."

Activists rallied at the Capitol to protest a proposed constitutional amendment that'd prohibit penalties against those who decline on religious grounds to allow wedding-related services to same-sex couples. The state chamber of commerce opposes the idea.

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