CA Legislature Passes Universal, "All Gender" Restroom Access Bill

For immediate release:

(SACRAMENTO, CA) – The California State Legislature passed a bill authored by Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) to establish the nation’s most inclusive restroom access law.  The vote followed a federal judge’s ruling preventing the U.S. Department of Education from implementing guidance requiring school districts to allow transgender students to choose which restroom and locker facilities to use based on gender identity.

If signed into law, Ting’s AB 1732 would require single-occupancy restrooms in California businesses, government buildings, and places of public accommodation to be universally accessible to all genders starting March 1, 2017.

“This bill sends a simple message that everyone’s rights must be respected and protected.  It provides a common sense alternative to the hate being enacted in other states,” said Ting.  “Restricting access to single use restrooms defies reason.  It is a basic necessity of life and everyone should get in and out on the same terms.  By signing this bill, Governor Jerry Brown can chart a new course for equality that other states should follow.”

Sponsored by Equality California, the Transgender Law Center and California NOW, AB 1732 passed the Assembly today with a 57-16 vote following a 28-7 Senate vote last Thursday.  It now moves to Governor Jerry Brown for his signature or veto before the end of September.

"This is a common sense proposal," said Rick Zbur, Executive Director of Equality California.  "Our home restrooms are already all-gender.  So are restrooms on airplanes and at many hospitals and gas stations.  The benefits of this simple change will enable all Californians to use restrooms in a way that is more safe, fair, and convenient."

“This law is a simple measure that will make everyone’s lives easier,” said Kris Hayashi, Executive Director of Transgender Law Center.  “Having restrooms open to all genders will mean less hassle for everyone going about their day, and will allow people who don’t fit neatly into expectations of what it looks like to be male or female to use the restroom without fear of harassment.”

“Having access to facilities when they are most needed is important to our health,” said Jerilyn Stapleton, President of California NOW.  “We shouldn’t have to wait or postpone having our needs fairly met in public.  Everyone should experience equal waiting time.  We have universal bathroom access at home and on airplanes so why not require it in public buildings?

In March, North Carolina enacted HB 2, which requires people to use public restrooms consistent with their gender at birth.  In April, Mississippi enacted HB 1523, which allows anti-LGBT discrimination on the basis of religion.  Earlier this month, a federal judge upheld a prior injunction to prevent Mississippi’s law from taking effect.

Further information about AB 1732 is available online at www.leginfo.ca.gov.