SACRAMENTO — California lawmakers have passed a bill mandating schools to allow boys to use girls’ restrooms and vice versa if they identify with the opposite gender.
As previously reported, AB 1266, also known as the “Bathroom Bill,” serves as an amendment to the Education Code and requires all schools in the state to comply with its mandates.
“A pupil shall be permitted to participate in sex-segregated school programs, activities, and facilities, including athletic teams and competitions, consistent with his or her gender identity, irrespective of the gender listed on the pupil’s records,” the legislation reads.
The bill was originally approved by the state Assembly earlier this year, which moved it to a full vote, where it was later passed. On Wednesday, the bill passed overwhelmingly in the Senate 21-9.
“There should be certainty that every kid has the chance to go to school and be treated equally and fairly,” said Senator Mark Leno of San Francisco. “We know that these particular students suffer much abuse and bullying and denigration. We can’t change that overnight, but what we can do is make sure that the rules are such that they get a fair shake.”
However, some legislators expressed deep concern over the bill who believe that it fails to consider the rights of other students.
“Think about the millions of California parents and students who at the least would be extraordinarily uncomfortable with what this bill would impose upon them,” said Senator Jim Neilson. “It is not all about discrimination. Elementary and secondary students of California – our most impressionable, our most vulnerable – now may be subjected to some very difficult situations.”
The Pacific Justice Institute, a Christian legal organization that has been speaking out against the legislation, told Christian News Network earlier this year that the bill not only pertains to restrooms, but also to school sports teams.
Attorney Matthew McReynolds explained that the bill would entitle students who wished to identify with the opposite sex to be allowed to play on sports teams of that gender. Girls who identified as boys could play on male football teams, and boys who identified as girls could play on ladies’ tennis or swim teams. Coaches would then be required to allow that individual to change in the locker room with all of the other students of the opposite gender.
“Our sports and athletics [groups] here … they do have some policies in place, [but] this bill is so sweeping, it will likely override the existing safeguards that are in place,” McReynolds stated.
Similar legislation recently passed in Delaware despite outcry from Christians, and in Colorado, the state Civil Rights Division ruled that a school district discriminated against a 6-year-old boy when it stopped him from using the girls’ restroom after he began to dress as — and identify as — a girl.
The California bill now heads to the desk of Governor Jerry Brown for signing.