RICHMOND, Va. — A Republican-led House subcommittee in Virginia has killed a bill that would have required those using restrooms and locker rooms at government-run facilities, including public schools, to align with birth gender.
According to reports, the seven-member House of Delegates subcommittee dispensed with the “Physical Privacy Act” on Thursday with a voice vote and no debate, disappointing its sponsor, Del. Robert Marshall, R-Prince William.
“They don’t even want to defend their oath,” Marshall told reporters. “That’s disgusting.”
“The government entity that owns, leases, or otherwise controls a government building shall ensure that all restrooms and changing facilities located in such building provide physical privacy from members of the opposite sex,” H.B. 1612 read in part.
“Any restroom or changing facility located in such building designed to be used concurrently by more than one individual shall be designated for use only by members of one sex by the government entity,” it mandated. “In any other setting in such building where an individual may be in a state of undress in the presence of others, the government entity shall provide a separate, private area designated for use only by members of one sex.”
Marshall’s bill, introduced earlier this month, generated support from the Virginia First Foundation, which characterized the move as a “common sense solution for students, parents, administrators and legislators.”
“[The Physical Privacy Act] makes adequate provisions for children seeking single-use restrooms when needed and ensures that children are not forced to experience forced physical exposure to the opposite sex against their will,” said board member Travis Witt, the pastor of Gilboa Christian Church in Mineral.
“Public school facilities are not the place for social experiments that permit early exposure to sexual issues when there is ample evidence that such exposure can lead to long-term developmental damage,” he contended.
But the office of Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe opined that the measure would be harmful to the economy.
“As we saw in North Carolina, these bills don’t just hamper civil rights—they kill jobs,” spokesman Brian Coy said in a statement. “The governor is hopeful that Republicans in the General Assembly will drop these counterproductive bills and turn their focus toward building a stronger and more equal Virginia economy.”
According to the Daily Progress, Del. Barry D. Knight, R-Virginia Beach, who serves on the subcommittee, voted down the bill for that very reason.
“It’s all about economics to me,” he said. “I saw that North Carolina lost hundreds of millions of dollars, and I wasn’t willing to put the state in that particular position.”
As previously reported, last October, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear a case out of Virginia involving a female student who identifies as male and consequently wishes to use the boys’ restroom. The student, who goes by the name Gavin Grimm, is fighting the Gloucester County School Board over the matter.
“In light of the right to bodily privacy, federal law should not be twisted to require that a male be given access to the girls’ facilities, or a female to the boys’ facilities,” said Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) Senior Counsel Gary McCaleb in a statement.