The transgender bathroom bill has passed the Alabama Legislature with an amendment and will now head to the governor's desk.
House Bill 322 (HB322), which requires public K-12 schools to designate use of rooms where students may be in various stages of undress on the basis of biological sex, was filed in the Alabama House of Representatives by Rep. Scott Stadthagen (R–Hartselle) and has 47 co-sponsors. The prohibition would apply to bathrooms, showers, changing rooms, locker rooms or any other facility that is limited by gender.
The bill has certain exceptions, such as custodial care, employees carrying out work duties, emergency health services and caretakers providing physical assistance when necessary.
“The practice of requiring boys to use the boys’ restroom and girls to use the girls’ restroom is simple, common sense because we don’t get to choose our gender – God has already done that for us,” Stadthagen said. “Alabama is a state that is guided by Christian conservative values, and we must fight back against the liberal social architects who want to misinform, mislead and confuse our children about the most basic biological facts of life."
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During the proceedings, State Sen. Shay Shelnutt (R- Trussville) offered an amendment that prohibits the teaching of gender identity in the classroom for K-5 students.
State Sen. Bobby Singleton (D-Greensboro) protested the amendment, stating that he supported the bathroom bill, but the amendment went too far.
"We’ve always been talking about sex education and making sure that children understand so we can curtail pregnancy and all this stuff. We’ve always done drug education, sex education. And now we don’t want people to educate children about sexuality,” Singleton said.
Singleton took issue with the bill’s language, claiming that a student would not be able to get an answer from their teacher if they asked their teacher whether they were a boy or a girl.
“We just don’t think it’s appropriate to be talking about homosexuality and gender identity,” Shelnutt said. "They should be talking about science, math, reading, writing, especially in elementary school.”
Singleton said that the bill does not apply to pre-K, so, theoretically, a discussion on gender identity could take place in pre-K. He also chastised the Senate Republicans for providing a copy of Florida’s controversial bill, critically dubbed a “don’t say gay” bill.
“I’m going to tell my teachers to start ’em early,” Singleton said.
“Congratulations, guys, for copying the state of Florida.”
The Senate Rules Committee motioned to cloture debate on the bill within minutes of bringing the legislation to the floor.
The bill passed as amended and was concurred by the House of Representatives. The bill will now go to the desk of Gov. Kay Ivey for her signature.
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