- What is the “Bathroom Bill”?
- Why are you opposed to the “Bathroom Bill”?
- What is the current status of the “Bathroom Bill”?
- What has recently happened in Maine?
- Who is supporting the “Bathroom Bill”?
- Isn’t the “Bathroom Bill” just about fighting discrimination?
- What can I do to oppose the “Bathroom Bill”?
The “Bathroom Bill” is officially named “An Act Relative to Transgender Equal Rights.” In the House the bill is HB 502, while in the Senate is it SB 764. In the House the lead sponsors are Rep. Carl M. Sciortino (D-Medford) and Rep. Byron Rushing (D-Boston), while in the Senate, Sen. Benjamin Downing (D-Pittsfield). CLICK HERE to see the full list of legislative sponsors.
The “Bathroom Bill” would protect the rights of people with Gender Identity Disorder (cross-dressers, those changing their gender surgically, or simply those who “fee” differently-gendered) to use the bathrooms, locker rooms, and shelters reserved for the opposite sex. Transgendered is self-defined by the claimant, and based solely on one’s conception of oneself on that particular day. There’s no requirement of a doctor’s proclamation, surgery, or hormone therapy.
The bill includes an extremely vague definition of ‘gender identity or expression’ as being the gender-related identity, appearance, expression, or behavior of an individual, regardless of the individual’s physiology or assigned sex at birth. This definition is purposefully vague and even the bill’s supporters admit that the individuals are difficult to define.
We are opposed to the “Bathroom Bill” because of the chilling effects that it will have on the privacy, safety and modesty of all residents, especially children and women. The bill is an unnecessary “protection” for an extremely small number of citizens that would endanger a much larger population. Those afflicted with “gender identity and expression” issues are already protected from harassment and criminal acts by current state law, making the “Bathroom Bill” wholly excessive.
The “Bathroom Bill” is currently before the Joint Committee on the Judiciary, a legislative committee composed of members of both the House and Senate. This is the same committee that has been responsible for bill since it was first filed in 2007. As with any legislation, a committee has three options: they can vote to recommend “Ought to Pass” or “Ought Not to Pass,” sending the bill to the full House and Senate for debate and a vote, or they can send the bill to “Further Study.” It is this last option that the committee has consistently opted for since 2007. It is widely known that bills that are sent to “Further Study” are dead for the current session of the Legislature.
In 2005, the state of Maine approved its own version of the “Bathroom Bill” and the consequences of this move are being felt. The state’s Human Rights Commission ruled that an elementary-aged boy petitioning for access to the girls’ bathroom could not be required to use a separate bathroom, he must be allowed access to the girls room. This ruling is expected to negatively impact all of Maine.
The school’s actions seem reasonable as they protect the privacy and modesty of prepubescent little girls, while also addressing any safety issues regarding the young boy with gender confusion. But the Human Rights Commission, armed with the state’s “Bathroom Bill,” were unsatisfied with this solution.
In a separate case, the owners of a Denny’s restaurant in Auburn, ME were sued after refusing to allow a male-to-female transgendered person to use the ladies room prior to sex reassignment surgery. A female Denny’s patron complained to the manager about sharing a public bathroom with a man. The Maine Human Rights Commission ruled that discrimination had taken place, and the case remains in the court system.
Legislators in Maine are currently considering a bill that would exempt businesses and institutions from the provisions of the Human Rights Act on the use of bathrooms and shower facilities. In other words, those in charge of public accommodations, primarily schools and businesses, will be able to designate their bathrooms, locker rooms and shower facilities according to biological gender without the threat of legal action.
Two lead special interest groups are pushing the “Bathroom Bill” in particular: the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC) and MassEquality (ME). The latter was the lead organization that advocated for defeat of the Marriage Amendment. They proclaim that now that they have “won” the battle for marriage, the “new frontier” is transgender rights. At the State House, the lead proponent and sponsor is Rep. Carl Sciortino (D-Medford), an openly gay legislator who works closely with gay special interest groups to garner support for their legislative agenda, including funding for the Massachusetts Commission on Gay & Lesbian Youth.
Though advocates for the legislation say that the bill is about discrimination, the reality is that even they cannot fully comprehend the far-reaching consequences of the bill. As documented above, the state of Maine is working right now to alleviate the privacy and safety concerns associated with their passage of a nearly identical bill.
Intellectually, no one supports “discrimination,” as the bill’s author’s claim. They cite examples of violence and harassment—all already illegal—that transgendered individuals face. According to the American Psychiatric Association, Gender Identity Disorder is a mental disorder affecting .05 % of the population. Transgendered people do deserve compassion and treatment, but our laws should not be changed to encourage a disorder at the expense of 99.05% of the population.
Furthermore, our opponents have been candid about their ultimate goals of redefining gender rolls and what it means to be a male and a female. Supporters of the “Bathroom Bill” are the same people that pushed same-sex “marriage” upon the state and worked to deny a vote on the Marriage Amendment by the public. Redefining marriage and family was just the beginning as is demonstrated by their efforts to change the definition of man and woman.
The “Bathroom Bill” is currently before the Joint Committee on the Judiciary. A hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, June 8, 2011 at 1pm in the Gardner Auditorium of the State House. As a resident, you can attend this hearing and testify, or simply attend to show your opposition. We encourage you to send written testimony, whether you intend to testify in person or not, to the House and Senate chairs of the Judiciary Committee:
Representative Eugene L. O’Flaherty
Joint Committee on the Judiciary
State House Room 136
Boston, MA 02133
Senator Cynthia Stone Creem
Joint Committee on the Judiciary
State House Room 405
Boston, MA 02133
We will also have a Bulletin Insert available soon for distribution at your church. As always, be sure to get the permission of your pastor before distributing the insert.
Though the “Bathroom Bill” has yet to be voted out of the Judiciary Committee since it was first filed in 2007, it is still important for you to express your opposition to the bill with your own state representative and state senator. CLICK HERE to send an email to him or her today.