Marshall’s “Bathroom Bill” Represents Liberal, Not Conservative Ideology

The General Assembly begins its shorter, election year session on January 11th.  In the run up to next week’s gaveling in, members of the House of Delegates and Senate have been prefiling armfuls of legislation.  This includes Delegate Bob “Sideshow Bob” Marshall from Prince William.  It wouldn’t be a General Assembly session without some kind of ridiculous piece of legislation being introduced by Marshall, who has introduced a number of gems over the years, including bills to allow Virginia to coin its own currency, ban gays from the Virginia National Guard, require kids to read “morally or ethically relevant materials” in school daily, the unconstitutional Marshall-Newman anti-marriage amendment, and – one of my favorites – a bill that would criminalize using bad words in an email.

This year, he’s wading into the transgender bathroom debate, sponsoring legislation that would require individuals use the bathroom for the gender reflected on their birth certificate, bars governmental facilities from having unisex bathrooms with more than one toilet, and requires parents be notified of all transgendered students in their schools.

The bill, which Marshall has euphemistically called the “Physical Privacy Act,” is yet another example of his penchant for trying to legislate his own version of morality on Virginia’s citizens.  Coupled with his resolution condemning pornography as a “public health hazard,” Marshall has begun 2017 doing exactly what voters in the GOP have been telling politicians – especially Republicans – that they don’t want for at least the last six years.  With the focus on freedom and liberty that has been espoused by every aspect of the party, from moderates to the Tea Party to the loyal libertarians who’ve stayed in the GOP, it’s surprising that Marshall would continue pushing legislation that, at its core, is designed to inject government into the private lives of the citizenry.

This is the exact opposite of liberty.  It’s a government regulation designed to shrink individual freedom.  It’s the exact opposite of what conservatism is about.

There are fewer things more private than somebody’s bodily functions.  That Marshall would claim the mantle of conservatism while putting forth legislation that is fundamentally anti-conservative is absurd.  There is nothing conservative about government regulating which bathroom someone uses or mandating things like public restrooms be opposite sex only.  That is big government at its most obvious, and it’s something that we, as Republicans, have long complained about when liberals do it.

What’s worse, Marshall’s bill requires the creation of a list and effectively publicly shames any child in a public school who may be struggling with issues related to transgenderism – whatever those issues may be.  This is probably poor legislative drafting on his part – he may simply have been trying to require that parents be notified if their own child wants to be treated as a member of the opposite sex (which assumes they might not know, which is absurd), but the way the language is written, it requires notifying every parent any time any child at school requests this.  Requiring that school principals inform the families of every student in a school when someone in the school requests “to be recognized or treated as the opposite sex, to use a name or pronouns inconsistent with the child’s sex, or to use a restroom or changing facility designated for the opposite sex[]” is nothing but rank intimidation, designed to chill any student from openly trying to deal with the issues surrounding transgenderism.  Whether you think gender fluidity is genuine, or you think it’s a kind of mental illness, this kind of list making and public outing of kids struggling with this issue is beyond the pale

Think about it this way – would any of us think it appropriate if a Democrat put into law a bill, on “public health” justification grounds, requiring parental notification to an entire school community of the name any student who makes it known to a teacher that they have a gun in their home?   What about a student who says they’re conservative?  Or because they’re Jewish, Christian or Muslim?

The bill is fundamentally flawed public policy, especially considering it includes no penalties for non-compliance, nor is there any explanation as to how it could possibly be enforced.

Make no mistake, what the left is trying to do on the bathroom issue is wrong, too.  As is often the case, since they are unlikely to win a legislative battle on these issues, they have created controversies designed to get them in the courtroom, hoping a judge will impose their liberal social agenda on the citizenry from the bench.  There’s a case now at the Supreme Court that could do just that, Gloucester County School Board v. G.G., which is still awaiting scheduling of oral arguments.  That’s wrong, but it’s a common play in the continual warfare between social liberals and conservatives.  The proper response to the left’s attempts to legislate their views on gender isn’t legislation like that drafted by Bob Marshall.  It’s important to note that, if the Supreme Court rules for the transgendered student in Gloucester County, this bill represents yet another piece of unconstitutional legislation Marshall has tried to push through the General Assembly.

The bottom line is simple: government should play no role in these decisions.  Which bathroom you use is a decision that should be up to the individual, not government.  When and if there is an issue in a public facility, let the people running that facility decide the appropriate response.  Government does not need to stick its nose into these kinds of decisions.

Liberals use government to regulate the behavior of individuals they don’t like.  When conservatives try to use government to regulate the behavior of individuals they don’t like, it doesn’t suddenly become conservative if you’re talking about bathrooms, or marriage, or religion.  It’s still liberal.  It’s up to conservatives to continue opposing that kind of regulation, proving that our belief that liberty and freedom demand that most personal decisions are best left to the people is more than just sloganeering.

Where you take a dump is one of those decisions.

It shouldn’t take long for the General Assembly to flush this bill back where it belongs.