Ah, the Deep South strikes again.
As fiery debates over so-called “Bathroom Bills” rages nationwide in the aftermath of North Carolina’s passing of HB2 – including recent statements from GOP presidential hopefuls encouraging transpeople to urinate at home and “not intrude upon the rights of others” – an Alabama town isn’t mincing any words in how they feel about equal rights for LGBT persons.
Officials in Oxford, Alabama yesterday passed an ordinance banning anybody from using a public restroom that does not align with their biological origin, and City Council President Steven Waits made it abundantly clear in confirming that the measure was enacted in direct response to multinational superstore Target’s recent public statement on HB2, which said the store welcomes “transgender team members and guests to use the restroom or fitting room facility that corresponds with their gender identity.”
In a statement Tuesday evening, Waits said her and the council passed the law “not out of concerns for the 0.3 percent of the population who identify as transgender,” but “to protect our women and children.” Waits, along with GOP policymakers throughout the country, seem painfully unaware that there is no record of a transgender person ever attacking or behaving sexually perverse in a public restroom.
Nonetheless, Waits insisted that he had personally received an “overwhelming” number of complaints from residents about the policy which potentially would have been in effect at the town’s single Target location (and, based on Waits math, would have the disastrous impact of affecting no greater than 0.3% of all bathroom visits at the store).
Most disturbingly, the penalty for allegedly urinating in the wrong bathroom at the Oxford Target carries with it a $500 fine and up to six months in jail.
The comments come as part of an ever-increasing attack on LGBT rights throughout GOP-controlled states, with a series of laws being passed or proposed under the guise of “Religious Liberty.”
As pressure from bigoted legislators and communities has grown locally, the rhetoric has seeped its way into the GOP presidential race, beginning with front-runner Donald Trump’s surprising opposition to HB2.
Speaking on the Today Show, Trump said that “North Carolina did something very wrong,” noting that if Caitlyn Jenner walked into Trump Tower, she’d be free to use the bathroom of her choosing.
Seizing the opportunity to flex his conservative muscle, Ted Cruz pounced, releasing an uncomfortably creepy attack ad on his rival saying “Should a grown man pretending to be a woman be allowed to use a women’s restroom? The same restroom used by your daughter? Your wife? Donald Trump thinks so.”
And then there were these statements over the weekend: