California Assembly passes gender-neutral restrooms bill

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California lawmakers advanced a proposal Monday that would require all single-stall public restrooms to be gender neutral.

The vote came hours after North Carolina‘s governor sued the federal government to defend a law in that state requiring transgender people to use the restroom matching the sex on their birth certificate.

Members of the California Assembly voted 52-18 on an initial ballot in favor of the proposal from Democratic Assemblyman Phil Ting of San Francisco. He said it aims to help transgender people, parents with kids of different genders and adults caring for aging parents.

At least three states have considered proposals in the past two years to open single-occupancy stalls to anyone as state and local governments address gender issues. Ting’s office says California’s proposal is the most comprehensive taken up so far.

His proposal would apply to all businesses in California as well as state and local government buildings, asking inspectors and officials who enforce building code to check restroom signs for compliance. A state association of health officers rescinded its opposition to the bill after Ting removed them from that list.

“California is a place of inclusion,” Assemblyman Evan Low, D-Campbell, said in support of the proposal. “Let’s make a clear statement that, if you want to go pee, by all means help yourself.”

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