Oxford, Alabama is striking back at Target’s policy of allowing men to use women’s bathrooms this week by unanimously passing a new city ordinance aimed directly at the store and their practice. The new law makes Target’s policy illegal.
Under the ordinance, first reported by The Anniston Star, anyone within city limits or Oxford’s police jurisdiction is required to use public bathrooms and changing rooms that correspond with the gender on their birth certificate. The city council stated that the law was passed specifically in response to Target’s policy.
After members approved the new city ordinance, Council President Steven Waits read from a prepared statement.
Waits said he and the council sought 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.”
He said the measure isn’t meant to be discriminatory, and comes in direct response to the bathroom and changing-room usage policy put forth by supermarket chain Target, which has a store at Oxford’s Exchange shopping center.
Violations must be witnessed and reported by a citizen, and will be punishable by a fine of up to $500 dollars or six months in jail. Exceptions include adults accompanying children under 12, the disabled, or people who are performing maintenance work.
Here is an excerpt from the ordinance:
The City Council finds that its citizens have a right to quiet solicitude and to be secure from embarassment and unwanted intrusion into their privacy while utilizing multiple occupancy bathroom or changing facilities by members of the opposite biological sex. The City Council asserts that there is a long standing history of restricting access to single sex public facilities on the basis of sex and that the users of multiple occupancy bathrooms or changing facilities do not reasonably expect to be exposed individuals of the opposite sex while utilizing those facilities. The Council further asserts that single sex public facilities are places of increased vulnerability and present the potentials for crimes against individuals utilizing those facilities which may include, but not limited to voyeurism, exhibitionism, molestation and assault and battery.
Oxford has about 22,000 residents. The city council asserts that they received many citizen complaints and concerns after Target’s policy made headlines, and the city is responding to the wishes of it’s residents accordingly.
Radical LGBT activist group Human Rights Campaign attacked the city’s local decision, calling it “horrific.’ The head of their Alabama office, Eva Kendrick, said the law “is a shameful and vile attack on the rights and privacy of transgender people.”