A new bill in the California Assembly is causing a stir among religious conservatives around the country.
AB 2826, introduced by Assemblyman Evan Low (D-Silicon Valley), would require retail department stores to have gender-neutral aisles for children’s toys and clothing.
“A retail department store shall maintain one, undivided area of its sales floor where, if it sells childcare articles, all childcare articles—regardless of whether a particular item has traditionally been marketed for either girls or for boys—shall be displayed,” the bill states.
Low, a member of the California Legislative LGBT Caucus, said the premise of the bill came from one of his staffers, whose young daughter had asked why certain items she wanted were in an area designated for boys.
“This bill will help children express themselves freely and without bias,” he said.
If passed, the bill would apply to all retail department stores with 500 or more employees. Any retailer that refuses to comply could face a civil fine of $1,000.
Low argues that “keeping similar items that are traditionally marketed either for girls or for boys separated makes it more difficult for the consumer to compare the products and incorrectly implies that their use by one gender is inappropriate.”
But Tony Perkins, president of Family Research Council, disagrees: “Running errands is hard enough without the headache of chasing down things in politically-correct departments.”
Candice Miller, a mother visiting the Central Coast, voiced her concerns about the potential law giving young children the impression that gender is fluid.
“We want to raise our daughter to know she’s a girl—that’s how she was born, that’s how she will live—and our sons [to know] that they were born boys,” she said. “I want my daughter to dress like a girl, and I want my boys to dress like boys. I want those sections to be separated.”
AB 2826 could be heard in committee later this month, and if passed, would take effect on Jan. 1, 2023.
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