BLOGSeparate Bathrooms: No Longer a No-Brainer

By Sarah Kramer Posted on: | April 01, 2016

Last week, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory signed the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act (“Privacy Act”), invalidating an ordinance passed by the City of Charlotte that would have required that public restrooms, locker rooms, and other changing and shower facilities be open to the opposite sex. In effect, it would have allowed men to enter restrooms and locker rooms reserved for women and girls, and punished businesses for simply seeking to safeguard their patrons’ fundamental right to privacy.


Even beyond that, businesses seeking to run their business according to their core convictions could be fined up to $500 per day and could even face jail time. This punishment would apply not only to businesses in Charlotte, but also to businesses outside of Charlotte that contract with the City.

While there are a number of polarizing issues being discussed in today’s culture, ensuring that men do not enter public restrooms and locker rooms with girls and women should be a no-brainer.

Indeed, a petition asking the Charlotte city council not to enact the ordinance received over 22,000 signatures, and more than 14,000 additional petitions poured in from across the state supporting the General Assembly’s passage of the Privacy Act.

“Sixty-nine percent of North Carolinians agreed that the ordinance was unreasonable and unsafe in forcing women and young girls to undress, shower, or engage in other private activities in the presence of men,” said ADF Legal Counsel Kellie Fiedorek.

Last week, the North Carolina General Assembly heard the voices of people across the State by calling a special session to address Charlotte’s harmful ordinance and passing the Privacy Act through a bipartisan vote.

This act does two things:

  1. It clarifies that people may access only the sex-specific public restrooms and locker rooms that correspond to their biological sex as stated on their birth certificate.
  2. It clarifies that it is the state, and not the local city governments, that determines regulations and protections for trade, employment, and commerce in the state. This ensures that there is not a patchwork of laws throughout the state that undermines a flourishing economy.

Yet, this week, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a lawsuit challenging the Privacy Act. And the backlash from large corporations has been nothing short of shocking. These companies have chosen to cast aside women’s right to privacy to advance a political agenda and a genderless society.

“If the right to privacy means anything,” Fiedorek said, “it certainly means that women and girls should not be compelled to undress, shower, or use the restroom in the presence of men.

Thankfully, the government leaders in North Carolina acted to protect the privacy and safety of their citizens before the Charlotte ordinance took effect on April 1. But with the ACLU’s actions, what should be commonsense is now a lawsuit.

Your prayers are needed!

Pray for Governor Pat McCroy and the General Assembly as they faces strong opposition from national corporations that are threatening boycotts because of their common sense actions. No one should protest the right of women and children to enjoy privacy and security.

Sarah Kramer

Digital Content Specialist

Sarah worked as an investigative reporter before joining the Alliance Defending Freedom team.

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