A controversial bill that would tightly regulate gender-specific bathrooms in Wisconsin could be reintroduced in the 2016-17 legislative session.
The bill, which Rep. Jesse Kremer, R-Kewaskum, and Sen. Steve Nass, R-Whitewater, introduced, would mandate that only biological males and females use their respective gender bathrooms and locker rooms. The bill would force transgender individuals to only use the room that corresponds to the gender on their birth certificates. But the bill failed to pass in the Assembly April 13.
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Julaine Appling, president of Wisconsin Family Action, said the bill is a “common sense” piece of legislation that should be reintroduced to promote student safety and privacy. She said perverted men pretending to be transwomen could enter women’s bathrooms and take advantage of them.
“This isn’t about being discriminatory — it’s about common sense, safety and privacy rights,” Appling said.
Appling said women who are abuse victims consider bathrooms a safe and private place. She said it would be a “traumatic experience” for these women if transpeople were allowed to enter women’s bathrooms, locker or changing rooms.
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But Madison Mayor Paul Soglin said the bill would discriminate against transpeople. He said Madison has strongly opposed any kind of discrimination based on gender or sexual orientation, like in this bill. He said it is unfortunate that the bill will be reintroduced.
Soglin banned city staff April 18 from visiting any states that had passed bills similar to Kremer’s. North Carolina passed a similar law in March, but Soglin said it was not the first incident where Madison opposed such legislation. He said Madison opposed Georgia’s legislation against equal rights in 1978 and Colorado’s legislation against the gay community in 1991.
Soglin said city staff would oppose this bill as well.
“This bill is very shortsighted and unfortunate,” Soglin said. “I hope that fair and wise people prevail in terms of rejecting it.”
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Appling said the bill’s language will be changed, but the changes are currently unclear. Soglin said Madison City Council will officially oppose it once it is introduced in the Legislature.
Kremer looks to reintroduce the bill in the 2016-17 legislative session.