By Rob Roper
So, it hit the news today that Vermont businesses are not complying with the new “gender neutral” bathroom law. This went into effect a little less than two months ago on July 1, and mandates that all single occupancy, lockable bathrooms be labeled as “restroom” and not use gender specific icons, such as the typical male and female silhouettes. Put another way, it bans restaurants, gas stations, etc. from having private men’s and women’s/boys’ and girls’ rooms.
Quoted in Vermont Digger, Karen Richards of the Vermont Human Rights Commission said, “In virtually every business that I have been in from restaurants to retail stores to car dealerships, the signage has been out of compliance with the new standards.”
Virtually every business. Wow! This must have sparked general outrage because, as Gov. Scott said at the signing ceremony for the bathroom bill, “For many transgender and gender non-conforming Vermonters, having bathrooms labeled male or female creates social stress and discomfort or instances where you face hostility and mistreatment.”
That sounds awful. These folks must have really been looking forward to the day when businesses complied with this critical new law and must have been outraged to discover it was being universally flouted. Nope. You know how many complaints were filed about “virtually no businesses” complying with this law? One.
What does this tell us? That this law, for all the hoopla and drama in the Statehouse, was an unnecessary solution in search of a non-existent problem. Everybody continued relieving themselves in public restrooms without issue, just as they did before the law was passed. Government acted boldly, the law changed nothing, and nobody cared. Life went on just fine for everyone.
We should be happy about this. It is a great example of how we do not need government micromanaging every tiny aspect of our lives and businesses (like what kind of sign is illegal to post on the door to a toilet) to get along in a functioning society.
On the downside, rather than recognize that their law is unnecessary and repeal it, you can bet the state will now go out of its way to force businesses to get in line because… well, just because. After all, it was a helluva bill signing ceremony.