A Republican-led committee on Thursday
killed a bill that sought to bar transgender people from using the
bathroom of their choice.
The House General Laws subcommittee,
which includes five Republicans and two Democrats, tabled the bill
without debate with a voice vote after hearing testimony from a
handful of witnesses, The
Washington Post reported.
The bill's author, Robert G. Marshall,
a Republican from Prince William, criticized committee members for
killing his proposal, calling them “disgusting” cowards.
“You campaign one way and come down
here and kill things silently,” he fumed.
Going into Thursday's hearing, Marshall
tweaked his bill to allow transgender people who had undergone
sex-reassignment therapy or surgery and whose birth certificates had
been changed to reflect that to use the bathroom of their choice.
“If someone goes through the process
of changing their sex – I don't think it's very smart because such
people have very high rates of self-harm. That's documented, not
from me,” he said. “But if they go through that, fine. Let them
use that bathroom.”
Known as the Physical Privacy Act,
the bill would also require public school principals to notify a
parent or guardian if a child outs himself or herself as transgender,
which could include the child requesting to be recognized as the
opposite sex, to be addressed by a name or pronoun inconsistent with
his or her sex, or to use a restroom designated for the opposite sex
of the child.
Marshall's bill has been compared to
North Carolina's controversial House Bill 2, which not only
prohibited transgender people from using the bathroom of their choice
in many buildings, but also blocked cities and municipalities from
enacting LGBT protections. But unlike North Carolina's law,
Marshall's proposal includes an enforcement provision that would
allow a person to sue for physical or emotional distress caused by a
transgender person using the facility he or she identifies with.
Marshall and Senator Stephen Newman are
the co-authors of the state's voter-approved constitutional amendment
limiting marriage to heterosexual couples. Fifty-seven percent of
Virginia voters in 2006 approved the Marshall-Newman Amendment. A
federal judge in 2014 struck down the amendment as unconstitutional.
The following year, the Supreme Court, in a related case, found that
gay and lesbian couples have a constitutional right to marry.
Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe has
vowed to veto the bill if it reaches his desk.
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