Opponents say Senate bill would lead to “potty police”

Indiana Statehouse
(WISH Photo/Ron Nakasone)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – A bill filed in the state Senate would create a new crime in Indiana. That crime would be called “single sex public facility trespass.” Opponents say it would lead to “the potty police.”

It’s a reaction to the call for new civil rights protections for the LGBT community.

The General Assembly will be asked to pass a law that protects civil rights based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Opponents say that gender identity is determined at birth and they want a law that says only males can enter a male public facility in an Indiana school, and only females can enter a female facility.

State Senator Jim Tomes of Wadesville in southern Indiana is the author.

“With the discussion of the civil rights and all of the discussion about who can use what restrooms,” said Tomes, “there is nothing in statute apparently that has an ability for law enforcement to deal with a violation of somebody going into the opposite sex restroom.”

It’s an approach opposite the one taken by Butler University where all-gender restrooms have been created to accommodate transgender students, including Cambria York, who said, “I’m not male or female.”

Freedom Indiana will fight the bill.

“It puts, first and foremost, transgender students in the crosshairs,” said spokeswoman Jennifer Wagner. “So, we’re talking about our kids, teenagers, who are most at risk for bullying because of their gender identity.”

Sen. Tomes says he worked with Eric Miller of Advance America to come up with the bill.

“We’re moving in territory we’ve never been in before in all kind of circumstances,” he said, “and all kind of issues and topics and this is one of them.”

“Maybe we shouldn’t focus on targeting a particular group of people in our state and treating them like second class citizens,” said Wagner. “Perhaps we should do the right thing and update our civil rights code.”

The bill does permit some people to enter opposite sex restrooms. They include custodians and parents of children under 8 years old.

Someone seeking to give medical treatment would also be permitted to enter a facility reserved for the opposite sex.

The bill would apply to restrooms, locker rooms, and shower rooms and a violation calls for a Class A Misdemeanor. The penalty for it would be up to a year in jail and a $5,000 fine.

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