COLUMBUS (WCMH) — An Ohio lawmaker plans to bring a version of the controversial North Carolina Bathroom Law to Ohio.
Representative John Becker of Clermont County tells NBC4 he will file the bill this month. He says his version of the bill would protect families from individuals he calls “predators” who take advantage of businesses’ bathroom policies that allow patrons to use restrooms that reflect their outward gender identity.
The North Carolina law has received much criticism. It requires individuals to use the restroom that reflects their biological sex. Critics say this subjects transgender individuals to unnecessary ridicule and possible violence.
Paypal and other businesses have terminated plans to create jobs in North Carolina as a result of this new law. The NBA has said it will move the 2017 All-Star game from Charlotte if the law remains unchanged. Artists like Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam and Boston also canceled concerts in North Carolina because of the law, and in mid-April Columbus and Franklin County leaders placed a ban on travel to North Carolina by non-essential employees.
Columbus resident Tom Morgan says these laws target the transgender community.
“It’s not about the bathroom,” Morgan said. “It wasn’t about the water fountain back then either. It’s just fear mongering and people in power fanning the flames of hysteria.”
Morgan started a petition against any possible Ohio Bathroom Bill.
“Do we want a national economic backlash against our state, or do we want to continue to be welcoming and open for business,” Morgan asks.
His petition has received more than 5,000 signatures so far.
Minister Dave Daubenmire says a bill like this is needed.
“This is about whether my wife or my daughter forfeit the right to go to the bathroom in privacy without expecting some man to come walking into the restroom,” Daubenmire said.
Representative Becker, a Republican, says the transgender community is “not the problem.” He says this legislation is needed to keep predators from victimizing women and children. Becker tells NBC4 he will include an exemption for transgender individuals in his bill, which would be a major difference from the North Carolina law.