First Arizona lawmakers went after the immigrant community with SB 1070. Now they’re going after transgender people with SB 1045.
Last week, Arizona state Rep. John Kavanagh (R) failed to pass a bill that would have prosecuted transgender people with a class 1 misdemeanor for using public restrooms that don’t match their birth sex. But late Wednesday a panel of Arizona state lawmakers voted to advance a softer bill that protects business owners from discrimination lawsuits if they forbid a transgender person from using a restroom or fitting room.
During seven hours of testimonies during Wednesday’s hearing, only one person testified in favor of the bill, according to the AP, while more than 200 turned out to testify in opposition.
Gay and transgender rights advocates say SB 1045 will lead to profiling and discrimination.
“This law not only gives business owners the right to profile and discriminate against transgender people, but encourages harmful ‘gender-policing’ of anyone who doesn’t look masculine or feminine enough,” said M. Dru Levasseur, a transgender rights attorney for Lambda Legal, in an email to Colorlines.com.
“Transgender people are targets for hatred and violence. To pass a law that carves out a license to discriminate is extremely dangerous,” Levasseur went on to say.