A bill banning people from using facilities in K-12 schools for a sex other than the one on their birth certificate passed the House of Representatives on Tuesday.

House Bill 322 (HB322) 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.

“As a legislator, we listen to our districts and our constituents, and we have heard several, several complaints about this situation happening in our state,” Stadthagen said. “The problem ... number one is safety, safety of our female students in the bathrooms, that should be the most private place a student should go. And for males to consider themselves as females and be allowed in a female bathroom is unacceptable. As a parent, I do not want that to take place, and this is why I brought this bill.”

Stadthagen addressed the House, giving multiple examples in Alabama of sexual assault that had taken place while a male was using a female restroom. He also discussed seven cases of males using the female bathroom in his district alone.

Rep. Chris England (D–Tuscaloosa) was the first to speak in opposition to the bill, saying he believed it is a bad idea that targets children.

“Do you know that children that are experiencing gender dysphoria have higher suicide rates?” England asked. “And you know what contributes to those higher suicide rates? When they are targeted by laws like this.” 

Rep. Andrew Sorrell (R – Muscle Shoals) spoke in defense of the bill, speaking to an instance of a male using the female facilities in Muscle Shoals High School.

“I’m a new father,” Sorrell said. “As you know, I have a four-month-old. She’s nowhere near high school age. But I’ll tell you this, if she was, I wouldn’t have her at Muscle Shoals High School right now, but I might after this bill passes. I appreciate [Stadthagen] standing up for our children. I think this is such a commonsense bill. I understand and appreciate that [Stadthagen is] trying to protect our daughters. I understand and appreciate it more now that I’m a father.” 

Rep. Neil Rafferty (D–Birmingham) took to the podium to vigorously oppose the bill 

“I have had this discussion with my school districts, and it is not an issue,” Rafferty said. "I have also seen it dealt with by other school districts around my area, who have been able to handle the issue of providing accommodations for transgender students without any issue.”

Rafferty also accused Stadthagen of using transgender children as a “political football.”

Rafferty further claimed that the bill does nothing to deal with sexual assault.

“This bill does nothing to teach about sexual assault,” Rafferty said. “This bill does nothing to teach young women about their bodies, and bodily autonomy, and consent. It does absolutely nothing to address the problem that you [Stadthagen] are sitting here creating with a bold solution of yours.”

Stadthagen clarified that there was nothing in the bill that mentioned transgender individuals, a point that Rafferty conceded.  

Wes Allen (R–Troy) also spoke in favor of the bill, stating that the resistance to the bill comes from an inability to recognize reality.

“I think we can agree that there is a war on reality,” Allen said. "There is a war on reality by people who claim [that] individuals being able to enter restrooms that are not their own [is OK]. There is a war on reality when we can say giving puberty blockers to minors, giving cross-sex hormones to minors [is OK].”

The bill passed the House with a vote of 74 for, 24 against, and one abstention. The bill will now be moved to the Senate for deliberation.

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