Two bills have been introduced in the Minnesota Legislature aimed at making biological sex at birth the determinant factor as to which bathroom/locker-room people can use.
HF 3396 and SF 3002, The “Individual’s Right to Privacy and Safety in Public Accommodations Act” (aka the “Safe Bathrooms” Bill), were authored by Representative Glenn Gruenhagen (R-Glencoe) and Senator Scott Newman (R-Hutchinson), and have 34 Representatives and four Senators signed on to the legislation. Supporters say the act “seeks to protect the privacy, modesty and safety concerns of the public” by:
- Defining a person’s “sex” as biological;
- Clarifying that nontraditional sexual identity or sexual orientation may not override another person’s right to privacy based on biological sex;
- Reserving employer restrooms, locker rooms, and dressing rooms for males or females;
- Prohibiting public schools and universities from allowing access to restrooms, locker rooms, and dressing rooms to students except on the basis of biological sex;
Opponents of the legislation include Governor Dayton who has said that he will veto any bill that is passed: “I’m just appalled,” Dayton said at a news conference Wednesday. “This is about pandering to their extreme base. Their rabid base is homophobic, and they wrap themselves in the Bible to pretend that there’s justification for it. But the Bible says love thy neighbor as thyself.” (WCCO TV)
Barb Anderson, one of the Act’s supporters, spoke at a news conference held Wed. March 23, 2016: “Bathrooms and locker rooms are intimate settings where the right to privacy and safety must not be threatened.”
Current Minnesota law does not specify that transgender individuals must be allowed to use restrooms, etc., based on the gender of which they identify. The Minnesota Human Rights Act does list “sexual identity” as a protected class that cannot be discriminated against; this includes they cannot be discriminated against in the area of “public accommodation” (any place the public is allowed to be). Some school districts, cities and private businesses have policies allowing transgender people to use whatever (restroom/locker room, etc.) facility corresponds with the gender with which they identify.
UPDATE/CORRECTION This legislation INCLUDES EXCEPTIONS:
Nothing in this section shall be construed to: (1) limit access by a minor accompanied by an adult guardian of the opposite sex into a specified facility appropriate for the adult guardian, where the minor has not reached the age of nine years; (2) prohibit a person with disabilities from using a specified facility appropriate to the biological sex of either the disabled person or of an adult caretaker providing assistance; or (3) prohibit access by bona fide custodial staff or any other person in an actual emergency, where the person knocks and announces as a member of the opposite sex, if practicable.