Roper: Bathroom bill no big deal, except it is

By Rob Roper

Come July 1, single occupancy bathrooms in Vermont will have to be labeled in a “gender free” manner thanks to Act 127, an act relating to identification of gender-free restrooms in public buildings and places of public accommodation.

Rob Roper

Rob Roper is the president of the Ethan Allen Institute.

Proponents of this bill say it’s no big deal. Lots of restaurants, service stations and other places already label one-person-at-a-time bathrooms as “restroom” or “toilet” and nobody cares. Nor should we. In this sense, Act 127 is not a big deal.

However, looking at it from the Big Government, Nanny State perspective, it is a big deal. Consider the fact that our Legislature and governor just made it a crime — yes, a crime — for a shop owner to offer designated men’s and women’s rooms to their customers (unless they are large enough to have multiple person facilities). Shouldn’t this decision in a free society be between business owners and their patrons?

The Department of Public Safety has now been officially deputized as the Vermont bathroom police with the power to inspect toilet signs, punish businesses that are not in compliance, and even revoke someone’s business license for the outrageous act of tacking a silhouette of a guy in pants and a woman in a dress to the door of their loo. Is this really a desirous exercise of the state’s monopoly on legitimate violence?

What does this say to Vermont entrepreneurs about the “friendliness” of the state business climate when politicians are willing and eager to micromanage from Montpelier details of your operation as minute as this one, not to mention open you up to bureaucratic and legal jeopardy if you intentionally or inadvertently fail to comply?

And what problem did this solve that it would justify this level of state intrusion? Was there even one incident of a transgender or gender fluid person being denied access to a public, single-person-occupancy restroom? No. Nobody’s civil rights were violated, no citizen was denied basic services. If the law was passed because some people felt uncomfortable using a facility with a specific gender association, what do we do now for all the people who do identify with a gender, and not no gender, as “gender-free” implies? Pass another law?

This is not an appropriate role for government. And for those who do not care because they like the outcome, remember: A government that has assumed the power to mandate all bathrooms be “gender-free” also has the power to mandate that none be gender-free. These things should not be decided by the outcome of elections, and we really should not want them to be.

Rob Roper is president of the Ethan Allen Institute. Reprinted with permission from the Ethan Allen Institute Blog.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/tedeytan

5 thoughts on “Roper: Bathroom bill no big deal, except it is

  1. A lot of businesses are going to love this law. They just got 45 sq ft of retail space. Now instead of needing a male and female Ada bathroom they will only need 1.

  2. When I’m traveling from StJ to Burlington, there is just 1 rest area on I89, just south of exit 12. I often am traveling with my daughter, and I have difficulty getting to the end of the travel site (and am not interested in the coffee nor the advertisements for our state, either), so, if it’s available (and it usually is) we have used the two disability restrooms right at the entrance. I usually tell my daughter to take the women’s room and I take the men’s room, rather than wait in line behind her while a perfectly good (and exactly the same) rest room is idle beside hers. I wonder if all those who are offended that our legislators have exhibited a rare (for them) bit of common sense, would want me to be arrested for using the men’s room, even if it’s a single stall, locked room, and no man was waiting in line ahead of me?

  3. There’s about one person employed by some element of federal or state government for every fifteen citizens in the United States. The more unnecessary things the Government regulates or controls, the more paperwork it demands, the more people in needs to process the information and enforce the millions of regulations. At taxpayer expense. And producing nothing at all of marketable value to anyone. There’s even a move to eliminate entry level jobs by price-controlling unskilled labor out of the market. And monitors will have to be hired to insure that no one will hire teenagers during summer vacation unless they pay a skilled labor wage.

  4. I suppose this must be the most important thing for our (not mine) elected officials to be working on. I wish they would spend some time looking at the corrupt public education monopoly but I’m guessing the dems and progs would miss the cash and promised votes.

  5. Why is it when government gets involved everything is a major issue, this includes restrooms.

    My God, we all need restrooms we either sit or stand … what’s the problem? All you need is a sign that states “Restroom” go in and lock the door. Problem solved.

    However, looking at it from the Big Government, Nanny State perspective, it is a big deal. So what about the state, it’s in debt, overtaxed citizens, and no jobs and lousy roads? I guess these all got fixed, because the big news is restrooms. Pathetic!!

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