A Cleveland Plain Dealer writer has criticized a proposed Cleveland, Ohio ordinance that would prohibit discrimination based on gender identity in public accommodations.

Councilmen Joe Cimperman and Matt Zone proposed the non-discrimination ordinance last month.

In first reporting the story on Cleveland.com, Leila Atassi, a reporter for the Northeast Ohio Media Group, which owns the Plain Dealer, described the proposal as “an ordinance that would require businesses to make their restrooms, showers and locker rooms available to both sexes.”

She was forced to defend her reporting on Twitter, where she said that she picked up the language from comments made by Cimperman and Zone, though neither was quoted in the piece as making such a statement.

“Council sponsor of this piece literally said it means 'you can use the bathroom of your choice,'” Atassi tweeted. “I did not interpret on my own.”

Commenters on social media and Cleveland.com, the online portal for the Plain Dealer and the Northeast Ohio Media Group, repeatedly pointed out that the proposal would not force unisex facilities but allow transgender people to access “facilities consistent with their gender identity or expression.”

Despite this incident, Cleveland.com last week published an editorial board roundtable in which several writers repeated the claim, saying that the ordinance would give “both genders … access to all bathrooms and locker rooms.”

“I am not comfortable with a broad, gender-neutral bathroom ordinance that would make it easier for heterosexual men with criminal intent or just kinky habits to gain access to bathrooms used by women and children,” wrote Sharon Broussard. “And they are out there.”

Kevin O'Brien wrote: “Just go by the external appearance of the plumbing the good Lord gave you and keep your 'expressions' to yourself.”

“I don't think opening up all bathrooms to both sexes is the answer,” wrote Peter Krouse. “That would deny people, males and females, the privacy they deserve and possibly put them in uncomfortable or compromising situations. It could also create a fertile environment for predators to strike.”

Writing at Equality Matters, Carlos Maza said the comments “grossly misrepresent the proposed ordinance.”

“In addition, the myth about sexual predators sneaking into women's restrooms has been debunked by experts, including law enforcement officials and sexual abuse victims' advocate,” Maza wrote. “States and cities across the country have prohibited transphobic discrimination in public accommodations without incident.”