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.

  • Thank you, Brian.

  • Turtles Run

    Liberals use government to regulate the behavior of individuals.

    Yet the liberal actions are mainly a response to government action conservatives initiate.

    It was conservatives that tried strip the constitutional rights of gay people to marry and have families with legislation. Then there are the assaults on women’s reproductive rights, voting rights, civil rights and so on. The conservative agenda is to use government to advance their social agenda. Not that I will absolve the left of their transgressions on gun ownership rights. But to call such action to use the government to advance a social cause “liberal” is nonsense..

    But generally, conservatives are proponents of using government to limit the rights of individuals. The whole states rights mantra is built on the foundation that it is easier to strip people of their individual rights at the local and state level than the federal. The left uses the courts because many issues are ahead of where public opinion stands. Gay rights would not be here now if we waited for the states to individually recognize their constitutional rights. Many here argued that the state of Virginia AG should have fought to defend these unconstitutional socially conservative laws even though to do so would have violated his oath of office.

    Lets not pretend that such actions are simply only liberal concept.

    Matt Suarez

    • This is my point. Conservatives don’t act conservative when we try to use government to do what liberals usually use it to do.

      • Turtles Run

        Liberals don’t act liberal when we try to use government to do what conservatives usually use it to do.

        Funny, it works both ways.

        I will try to remember your comments when it comes to the slew of abortion laws the states with conservative legislators around the nation will be trying to pass this year.

        Matt Suarez

        • Many of the issues you’ve listed aren’t personal, private decisions. Abortion, civil rights, voting rights – those are all issues where the government has to regulate because doing so is fundamentally part of governments role. Government has a core function of protecting life, liberty and property. Writing laws to do those things isn’t a violation of freedom, even if the left tries to couch their arguments that way.

          When it comes to decisions about things like which bathroom to use. what to read, who you can form a relationship with – those are personal issues that are best left to people to decide and trying to regulate them when there’s little or on impact on someone else is not conservative, regardless of what the issue is.

          • MD Russ

            So regulating gay marriage is personal but regulating a medical procedure that is deemed ethical and has been ruled by the Supreme Court as protected by the First Amendment right to privacy is a fundamental part of government’s role?

            C’mon, Brian.

          • old_redneck

            Now, now, MD Russ — there you go again — expecting consistency of argument from a rightwinger.

          • I could kiss you for calling me a right winger.

            But that wouldn’t be very right winger of me, I suppose. How about just a thankful handshake?

          • MD Russ

            I don’t, anymore than I expect consistency from a leftie.

          • David Obermark

            Yup MD, instead of your rights end where mine begin, we have arguments that your rights should end where I think they should.

          • Regulating marriage is regulating a personal relationship between two people.

            Protecting the life of an unborn kid is no different than protecting the life of a living kid with laws barring homicide (which would include an intentional medical procedure designed to kill the patient), assault, and the like.

            That’s the difference. When you pretend that abortion doesn’t end a life, you can shoe horn it into some kind of privacy argument. But that’s what it does, so the comparisons to marriage and other privacy issues aren’t apt.

          • Turtles Run


            I noticed in your comment that there was no reference to the rights of women. You seem to forget that the female is forced to lose her rights under your cause of liberty. There are two competing interests here – the rights of the unborn versus the rights of the mother. Far too many conservatives conveniently ignore the latter in favor of the former.

            Matt Suarez

          • David Obermark

            I am going to interject a moderate viewpoint on this argument. After a certain amount of time within the womb, the development of the fetus has progressed to where it possesses a mind. Up till that time a woman should be allowed to choose because she is the only person impacted by the decision made. After this point is reached, a 2nd person is involved in the decision that is made.

            By the way, most abortions are performed before the fetus has reached the point that there is scientific proof it possesses a mind.

          • H Carlisle

            David, there is no scientific term for “mind.” That is a subjective term, not a scientific one. I would also appreciate you citing your source, as the scientific community remains highly divided as to when a fetus develops consciousness (if that is what you are referring to).

          • David Obermark

            Go look up the word “mind” in the dictionary troll. We do not need for science to come up with the term, the term is already there and understood. What science has proven is when the mind is present.

          • H Carlisle

            David, a mind is not the same thing as a brain, which is a physical entity. You may be thinking of consciousness, which is measured through brain activity. A mind cannot be measured because it is not a chemical process or function.

          • David Obermark

            Consciousness is a less specific term, and mind is more specific and to the point. As an example, one might possess a mind, but be unconscious.

          • H Carlisle

            In addition, I am not a “troll,” simply a concerned citizen who wishes to engage in an active discussion using academic terminology, rather than colloquial expressions.

          • This isn’t true. She has every right to choose whether to engage in sexual activity, to choose her partners, and to do just about anything she wants in that regard with a few obvious exceptions. But someone’s rights always end when the interfere with somebody else’s, and when you are trying to balance a woman’s rights with the unborn kids rights, the rights of the person who is leastable to defend their rights deserves the greater protection.

            This entire debate turns on treating an unborn kid like it isn’t alive, and I just can’t do that.

          • Turtles Run

            Your arguement is no different that that of the gun grabbers. It is also just as bad.

            I understand your abhorrence to abortion but making safe legal abortions harder to get or even banned does nothing to address the core issue of why women seek out abortions – economics.

            Far too often we see conservatives fight to enact laws making abortions illegal or harder to obtain and in the same token do little or even oppose programs that would reduce the need to get an abortion.

            Such actions make it appear that the so-called pro-life movement is really a front for an anti-safe abortion agenda. Banning safe abortions will not reduce the need for abortions no more than grabbing guns from law bidding responsible people will reduce crime rates.

            Matt Suarez

          • My argument is completely different from that of the gun grabbers – those people want to stop you from exercising a fundamental right. My argument is trying to get people to recognize that abortion isn’t exercising a fundamental right, because nobody has a fundamental right to kill another person. There are only limited, highly fact intensive situations where that’s okay.

            I’m not suggesting that the only way to end abortion is to make it illegal. Everybody knows that’s not going to make it illegal. This has to be a societal change. And the first thing we as a society need to do in order to make that change possible is stop acting like this is a “women’s rights” issue and recognize that the rights that need protecting are that of the kid whose own mother is unwilling to protect his rights.

            Ending abortion requires that we prevent all unwanted pregnancies in the first place so on that we can agree.

          • Turtles Run

            Still skating by the fact that you are still forcing women to give up the right to control their own bodies. That you are willing to force them to go through a forced birth which a more dangerous to her than a medically induced abortion.

            There is no law out there that forces people to do such a thing. Even the so-called “unless it is to save the life of the Mother” clauses cause a more risky medical situation for women because instead of letting her and her doctor decide on a course of action before her life is endangered, legislators are forcing doctors to remove their professional knowledge and opinion in treating their patients

            Ending abortion requires that we prevent all unwanted pregnancies in the first place so on that we can agree.

            I am sure social conservatives are working feverishly to insure women have more access to realistic family planning, sex education, and health options.

            Lets see………

            Oh, my

            Seems like Paul Ryan and his social conservative about to run a number six on Planned Parenthood and women’s health.

            But hey its the liberals right

            Matt Suarez


          • Matt, again, you’re trying to couch this by ignoring the fact that the kid inside is a person, and that person deserves to have their rights protected. You can’t argue that murder laws are forcing men to give up the right to control their own body because they can’t kill other people with it.

            At the end of the day, somebody has to care about the kid, especially if his own parents won’t do that.

            The problem with Planned Parenthood is that there is no way to separate the money they receive from the government for seeing patients through medicaid from their abortion related services. Money is fungible.

          • Turtles Run

            You can’t argue that murder laws are forcing men to give up the right to control their own body because they can’t kill other people with it.

            Is that really your argument? You see no difference between a person murdering a person on the streets versus a woman that does not want her body to go through a pregnancy. The invasion of privacy and loss of individual rights are staggering with such a belief.

            We have both taken enough time on this and you and I will never agree and this is getting too far off topic.

            Good day

            Matt Suarez

          • I see no difference between killing a person who has been born or a person who has not been born, no. And the decision making on whether someone wants to go through a pregnancy is before the pregnancy, not during it.

            And yes, I see we’re not going to agree, which is unfortunate.

          • Stephen Spiker

            Valuing one over the other isn’t “ignoring” the other.

          • Turtles Run

            When no consideration is given I call that ignoring. How many of these anti-abortion laws consider the rights of women.

            Matt Suarez

          • Stephen Spiker

            I don’t know what you’re referring to. If you mean the laws that restrict access to abortion by mandating requirements on clinics or the doctors that perform them, then yes, I agree. If you mean laws that make abortion illegal, then I disagree.

          • Turtles Run

            How do laws that ban abortion give consideration to a woman’s right to decide if she wants or does not want to go through a pregnancy? They are forcing someone by law to put their life and body through a traumatic ordeal.

            Matt Suarez

          • Stephen Spiker

            Couldn’t I just argue that you’re not giving any consideration to the life of the child?

          • Turtles Run

            I did not realize saying that at viabilty and in abvanced stages of pregnacies the state has a vested interest in protecting its life and abortions should get more progressively harder to get is not believed giving consideration to its life.

            My bad

          • Stephen Spiker

            “has a vested interest in protecting life” = ban abortions = not giving any consideration to the woman

            What am I missing in your logic train?

          • MD Russ

            Has the Supreme Court been briefed on this?

          • Of course.

          • Stephen Spiker

            Russ, even if we are pretending that there’s such a thing as a Constitutional right to privacy, let’s not twist the words of the Founders so much to suggest that its located in the **first** amendment. C’mon now.

      • Steve Waters

        Actually it’s liberals trying to do this with Obama’s last ditch executive orders and school boards across VA are seeking guidance from the VA GA.

        • They don’t need guidance from the VA GA when there’s a pending Supreme Court case on the subject and the entire issue is probably going to go away on January 20th when Trump rescinds the executive order.

          Bob’s not dumb. This is a way to fundraise off an issue that will likely go away anyway and look like he had something to do with solving it.

          Still not conservative.

    • David Obermark

      Gay marriage was not a right being denied gays until liberals made it an issue. I hope your whole argument is that you are trying to be ridiculous.

      • Turtles Run

        So those anti-gay marriage laws appeared by magic.

        If homosexuals would have just been given equal protection under the law there would have been no issue to make. Just let them enjoy their constitutional right to marry like everyone else. Don’t you agree.

        Matt Suarez

        • David Obermark

          Nope. I think there are valid reasons for why society should discourage homosexual relationships. If the bigots would listen to the reasoning, they might agree instead of objecting.

          • Stephen Spiker

            Who are the bigots in this scenario?

          • Turtles Run

            You should have shared to valid reason with those defending these unconstitutional laws because none were ever presented to justify the denial of the constitutional rights of homosexuals. Unfortunately you didn’t and here we are stuck with equal treatment for all.

            Matt Suarez

          • David Obermark

            Nope, I voted for Herring and he narrowly achieved victory. From the start he refused to fulfill the responsibilities of the job he ran for. I will not make the mistake of voting for that man for any office he runs for in the future. Which office does he next want that he has no intention of fulfilling the responsibilities of?

          • Turtles Run

            His job is to uphold the laws of the state and the constitution. Since the constitution is the highest law of the land he was obligated to follow it. You are against homosexuals being treat as equals under the law, that is your right to believe but not your right to have codified.

          • David Obermark

            Herring could not find justification as the Attorney General of the United States to defend the Virginia Constitution. He failed to do what the responsibilities of the job included. If he thought he could not fulfill the responsibilities, he should not have run for the office.

            He won that office by a few hundred votes. I was one of those voters who got him in there. I am sure that there are many like me who, if they realized just how awful he was going to be, would have voted the other way and swung the vote.

            Herring is not a leader. He casts his sails into the wind and follows the winds no matter where they blow him so long as he as an individual benefits from having done so.

          • H Carlisle

            1. Please list your reasons, valid or otherwise (I am assuming that they fall on the side of the latter)
            2. Is it really “bigotry” if you yourself are part of the group that is trying to restrict the opinion that LGBTQ men and women are just people who are inherently entitled to love?

  • David Eggleston

    How the heck is this supposed to work? I can’t even keep the dog out of the bathroom, and I live here. What’s Marshall going to do from Manassas?

    • David Obermark

      It is supposed to work by enforcing you only go into the bathroom you have the plumbing for.

      Seems simple to me. But I guess that is a little complex for you?

      • David Eggleston

        You joining the Pee-Pee Police to enforce this ridiculousness?

        • David Obermark

          This whole issue did not become so big until recently. 20 years ago was there a problem with you only went into the bathroom that matches your plumbing?

          It is not us that are tilling the new soil.

          • Stephen Spiker

            You are the one proposing enforcement of this law. Answer David’s question: are you volunteering to enforce it? Which bathroom will you be posted outside of?

      • Stephen Spiker

        Yes, we know you think simply. That’s why you pretend enforcement is as simple as saying “enforce the law!”

        • David Obermark

          Enforcing the laws WE decide upon yields good results. Failure to enforce them results in citizens failure to comply with the laws we decided upon.

          I am sorry this simple thought is too complex for you to comprehend.

          • Stephen Spiker


            Listen to me.

            “Enforcing the laws” is as simple as just saying its a law. It requires things: People. Money. Logistics. Guidelines for action.

            We’re saying enforcing who goes into which bathroom is problematic due to: 1) the number of bathrooms, 2) the inherently invasive nature of determining one’s genitalia.

            You’re response to HOW we actually do this is “enforce the law!”

            Do you have anything else, or can the rest of us just write you off as a moron and go about our day?

          • David Obermark

            I gave you an example of how enforced DUI enforcement resulted in positive results. It not only reduced suffering, it SAVED MONEY. For every dollar spent on enforcement, we were rewarded with additional dollars saved from reduced medical expenses and reduced productivity losses.

            Quit being an idiot moron?

            Sorry for the insults, but he did it first. Grin.

          • Stephen Spiker

            Okay, let’s think this through.

            DUI enforcement had positive results. What did DUI enforcement entail?

            It involves the officers themselves. The cars they used to get there and to stop traffic. Cones. Lights. Breathometers. Usually signage (at least that I’ve seen).

            It involves paying for all the above.

            It involves guidelines for how police are instructed to respond to a wide range of scenarios.

            What is your proposal for enforcing this bathroom bill? How many cops? How much money? How do they check people? How do they stop people?

            Ready? Go.

          • David Obermark

            Increased enforcement of DUI laws decreased DUI caused deaths by 50%. Leave out the medical costs for injuries not resulting in deaths and the costs of car repairs, how about the costs to society from families losing their wage earners?

            You can not understand complex thoughts can you? Admit it.

            I am going to stop responding to your childish comments. They are not worthy of a reply.

          • Stephen Spiker

            David, we’re not talking about the merits of DUI enforcement. I’m asking you how you propose to enforce this bathroom bill.

            How many cops? How much money?

            Do you have ANY answers to this basic question?

          • H Carlisle

            David, this is absurd. DUI enforcements can be easily implemented through DUI checkpoints, more thorough DUI on-site testing, and harsher sentencing of those convicted. How exactly are policemen and women supposed to enforce “bathroom laws.” Genitalia checkpoints?

          • David Obermark

            If there are no complaints, enforcement need go no further in general public venues. If there are complaints, law enforcement needs to get involved.

            In schools? The birth born sex of the student involved is known, school officials can enforce it without calling in law enforcement.

          • H Carlisle

            David, there is no reason why a person cannot use a bathroom in peace. There is no need for any “enforcement” because this is not an issue. Transgender people were using bathrooms of their choice for years until this became a point of contention for conservatives who do not approve of gender identity.

          • David Obermark

            OK, so what is being proposed is no change. Transgenders who can pull it off will still be allowed to use the restroom of their choice until somebody complains.

            What will happen is persons who can not pull it off will be prevented from doing it anyway.

            Why should the minority be allowed to make the majority uncomfortable? So that we can make them comfortable?

            How about the guy who only occasionally dresses in women’s clothing for sexual thrills? Should he too be allowed into the little girl’s room to enhance the thrill?

          • H Carlisle

            David, nobody is uncomfortable unless they’re looking at the genitals of other people around them. Anyone who is using a bathroom for “sexual thrills” is obviously not using the bathroom for its intended purpose and this is not appropriate, regardless of gender. This is also a highly hypothetical situation. “Pulling it off” means using a bathroom, why should it concern you who is in there with you, performing the same function? The majority does not need to be uncomfortable because they should not be concerned with the people around them. The minority (transgender people, who face constant discrimination from the majority) is not following a despicable agenda, they’re just people who want to use the bathroom. Focus on your own genitalia, not that of the people around you.

          • David Obermark

            OK, transgenders should use the bathroom that matches their plumbing. If they are uncomfortable with that they should get their plumbing changed.

            It is because of people like you that this law is being proposed.

          • H Carlisle

            David, this law is being proposed due to transphobia and fear of people who are different, not concerns about performing human functions. People can use whatever bathroom they need to. I also admire that you say “people like me,” since I would identify myself as a tolerant and empathetic person who believes in the universal right to use a bathroom without one’s genitalia being inspected.

          • David Obermark

            There you liberals go again. Calling rational concerns a phobia. A phobia is an irrational fear so stop contradicting yourself when you label us.

          • H Carlisle

            David, there is nothing rational about hating transgender people and denying their basic rights.

          • David Obermark

            There you go AGAIN. It is irrational of you to come to the conclusion I hate transgenders just because I think they should be restricted to using the bathroom that matches their plumbing. (I will confess to be being amused by some of them though. But because I shake my head and chuckle is not due to hate, it is because I am amused.)

            If we are not going to restrict people to the restroom that matches their plumbing, then why even have sex specific restrooms at all? I would more likely be in favor of all public restrooms becoming unisex. With that being said, I also would be sympathetic to the arguments made by many who would object to that.

          • Steve Waters

            Transgender is a lie and a myth. It’s a mental disorder. You don’t go in opposite sex locker rooms in public schools, common sense.

          • H Carlisle

            David, are you planning on personally enforcing this law by checking the genitalia for any individual who walks into a bathroom? It seems ridiculous to believe that there is any way of enforcing this law without forcing someone to expose themselves to a “concerned citizen.”

          • stirfry

            Your apology is disingenuous, and your insults rude.

          • David Obermark

            stirfry, I think your comment is rude.

            I also think it is rude for a man to dress up in women’s clothing and expect to be allowed into the women’s restroom.

            You criticize me for comments that can be ignored. I point to public behavior that is impossible to ignore.

  • Stephen Spiker

    “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.”

    I see Brian is just pretending last year didn’t happen. I applaud.

  • Scout

    In looking around for some small slivers of possible positive impacts of the Trump victory, one hope I’ve had is that the man’s electoral success has definitively and for all time shattered the fragile, hollow electoral “conservatism” posturings that became all the rage in the Republican Party at all levels of government over the past quarter century. I’m not sure I like what Trump’s example portends – personal belligerence, anti-factual sound-bites, complete absence of policy content – but I do know that the kind of cartoonish, self-applied “conservative” labels that every Tom, Dick and Harry seeking Republican office, from school board to President had adopted were completely hollowing out the GOP as an effective governance service provider. Trump is so imperviously non-ideological that an unintended consequence of his mere existence as a political figure may be to force Rs to move on to more substantive political contribution to the welfare and security of the Republic. Of course, on the other hand, every R hopeful may just decide to emulate Trump and adopt bluster for bluster’s own value. But I’m trying to be positive here.

    That brings me to Mr. Marshall. Always eccentric, his schtick has been to periodically take some weird issue that riles a core group and spin it up into a newsletter item. If he can’t find a local or Virginia cause, he’ll cough out some bizarre comment on a national issue. I suppose that he’s done this enough to know that it keeps at least a trickle of contributions coming in (I used to read all his mailings, e or otherwise, often just for amusement. I seem to recall there was always some way to send money in return). Marshall now looks kind of dinosaur-like post 2016. He still slaps on the “conservative” name forehead Post-it, and still bays at the moon about stuff that hardly matters to anyone, but surely we are on to some new paradigm in which the Marshall tricks are no longer shiny or bright enough to attract the marks they once did.

  • Chris B

    someone once asked me if I was ever worried about a man pretending to be a women while my daughter was in a public restroom. I pointed out that women’s bathrooms have nothing but stalls so I think she’d be okay

    • I’ve always thought the same thing.

    • Meg Kilgannon

      I’m sure no woman has ever been raped in a bathroom stall.

      • The fact that this may have happened in the past blows up your public safety argument for this now. Do you realize that?

        • Meg Kilgannon

          So let’s just forget about preserving safe spaces for women and girls BC women have been hurt in the past. Great. Very conservative.

          • I think women can figure out whether a space is safe or not without requiring government regulations. Don’t you?

            Everybody is responsible for their own personal safety. That is very conservative, yes.

          • Stephen Spiker

            Wait, are safe spaces conservative now? Or no? Its hard to keep track.

          • David Obermark

            Yeah, but they still have to go pee.

      • Chris B

        i’m willing to bet it was more than likely not done by a transgender person

        • And you’ll note that the sign on the door that says “women” didn’t stop the guy from going in there.

          • David Obermark

            And the fact that the sign said “women” does not explain why it does not happen more often?

          • Let me see if I get this right – you are saying that the sign on the door deters a man entering the bathroom and raping someone more than the cultural stigma against rapists couple with the decades long prison sentences against it?

          • David Obermark

            It is not everything you mention stops the crime. My point is that we should continue to deter and not enable.

            My broader argument is that transgenders should be allowed into opposite sex bathrooms because they are uncomfortable using same sex? How about all those people uncomfortable when they are allowed into any bathroom they choose?

            Are only men who wear makeup and skirts going to be allowed in? Or will they still be allowed in if they wear jeans and a tshirt?

          • It’s not up to your or me to make these decisions. That’s the point.

          • David Obermark

            OK, I guess it then is up to each man to decide if he wants to enter the women’s restroom or the men’s?

            The snowball is rolling and things are getting out of control.

          • Of course it is. And he would have to deal with the consequences if he did that.

          • Stephen Spiker

            How will you make it so they’re not allowed in?

          • H Carlisle

            David, the term is “transgender people,” not “transgenders.” But I suppose that it is much easier for you to conveniently forget the “people” part of this argument.

    • David Obermark

      Men’s bathrooms also have stalls. So why the big objection to the “question mark” using the bathrooms appropriate for the plumbing possessed? They can walk into any stall they desire for privacy. When they get the plumbing changed to match the restroom they desire, they will be allowed into it.

      • H Carlisle

        David, if you are such an advocate for stalls, why does it matter who is using one, male or female? The purpose, for any gender, is the same and not up for public debate.

    • Stephen Spiker

      Hence the weird, outlandish scenarios of kids being forced to sleep with one another on overnight trips.

  • Mark Herbert


  • Dan

    Brian, with all due respect, it’s kind of a weird take to say that the government should not be able to tell you which bathroom you can use in a government building.

    I find this bill deplorable, but the logic you’re using is tortured at best so that you can point fingers at progressives for the bigoted viewpoints of social conservatives.

    • MD Russ

      Agree. Why single out Bob Marshall for hypocrisy? Let’s talk about the Republicans who voted to maintain the ban on hunting on Sundays. Or talk about the Republicans, starting with Mike Huckabee, who supported Clerk Kim Davis’ “religious freedom” to refuse to issue marriage licenses to gays in Kentucky in defiance of the US Supreme Court. Or, Republicans who try to use “safety” issues to shut down abortion clinics.

      Bob Marshal is not an aberration to conservative Republicans–he is their poster child.

      • I singled out Bob because this is happening now and has gotten news attention across the Commonwealth. We dealt with Kim Davis when that happened, and we’ve pointed out before when Republicans were doing things that weren’t conservative and I’m sure we’ll do it again.

        As I say every time we get accused of covering one issue instead of another – this is what we picked to write about. If you’d like to submit an op-ed on any of those other issues, feel free.

    • There’s nothing weird about it. We’ve had bathrooms set aside for men and women since the invention of in-door plumbing. That doesn’t need to change, and we don’t need a government watch dog deciding who can use the men’s room and who can use the women’s room, or mandating that those rooms exist, or mandating that you can’t have unisex bathrooms, or the like.

      Anybody who has ever had to deal with zoning, building codes, and the like will already tell you this is a ridiculously absurd headache, and it’s all an example of overzealous government at it’s worst. There is just no reason for a legislature to regulate at this level. What’s next? Rules mandating the kinds of signing they can use and the thickness of the toilet paper?

      • David Obermark

        There would be no need for this type of legislation if the other side was not insisting boys should be allowed to use girl’s restrooms, huh? Oh, and it is not just boys they want to allow in the little girls room, they insist men should be allowed in there too.

        • I am not arguing that what the left wants is okay – it’s not. But our response shouldn’t be wrong, too.

          • David Obermark

            So the response of us against gay marriage, after losing that fight, is that we should roll over when “they” want to snowball that victory into additional rights for all the other queers.

            I wish to note, queers is evidently no longer a pejorative term. LGBT has been expanded to include LGBTQ, with the Q being for queer. In fact there are efforts to expand that even further. Last one I heard of was LGBTQIA and I think it is still expanding. I am waiting for the P to be added to include the polygamists.

          • No, it’s to reiterate that government shouldn’t be making these decisions and standing up and demanding that government butt out.

            I don’t care what people want to call themselves.

          • Dan

            By owning property and having bathroom facilities, they are part of this debate, whether you want it to be the case or not. Every single major company in this country is addressing this issue right now. Why are you surprised that the largest employer in our Commonwealth might have to address it someday too?

          • The Commonwealth’s General Assembly does not own and operate every public building in the Commonwealth, Dan.

            These decisions are best left to localities if there has to be any blanket regulation at all, and always best left to the individuals physically responsible for the buildings themselves.

          • Dan

            You’re right that it applies beyond state government. I misread the bill yesterday and thought the definitions restricted it to state government facilities. So I concede to your point somewhat as it pertains to the cities and counties.

          • David Obermark

            You do not care what people call themselves? So if a 30 year old man wants to call himself a girl so as to be allowed in the women’s restroom you have no problem with that?

            When I was an adolescent, me and some of my friends used to sneak up into the attic of a public restroom so that we could spy down on women and girls going pee through a peephole. If we had been caught there would have been hell to pay. But now the proposal is that we should allow adolescents into the room while they are going pee? You are blowing the most basic right to privacy right out the door.

            I wish to accentuate that me and my friends really were not perverts. We were normal adolescents.

          • I don’t care what somebody calls themselves, no. And nobody is watching anybody else pee in a public restroom, regardless of gender. There are stalls there for a reason. Privacy is still there, and if you don’t like the level of privacy in that bathroom, go to another one.

            This isn’t hard.

            Kids these days aren’t reduced to finding ways to spy on bathrooms. The internet fixed that.

          • David Obermark

            Yup, the stalls are there for a reason. The stalls in the men’s room are there too.

            If transgender people do not like the level of privacy in that bathroom? Go to another one.

            Your argument bounced back at you.

          • I agree with you on that.

            This is why I am saying government shouldn’t get involved on either side.

          • H Carlisle

            David, it seems like you would feel more comfortable using a stall yourself, since it must terrify you to be around other people who do not share your exact views.

          • David Obermark

            Nope, as usual, you are wrong.

          • H Carlisle

            David, I am merely suggesting that you should go about your own business. If you are concerned with the people using the bathroom around you, use a stall yourself for more privacy.

          • David Obermark

            All my children are grown. When my children were young they were always accompanied into public restrooms by adults.

            If transgenders are uncomfortable using the restroom that matches their plumbing, they can use a stall. Some cis men do use stalls to pee in public restrooms. I guess for whatever reason they are uncomfortable using the less private urinals.

          • H Carlisle

            Normal adolescents, just like transgender kids who just want to use a bathroom in peace (without peeping toms like you and your friends watching them).

          • David Obermark

            If transgender want to go to pee in peace, just go into a stall. Just be sure the stall you go into matches your plumbing.

            Why is this such a big problem? Because they are uncomfortable? How about all those who become uncomfortable when transgenders are allowed into the bathroom that does not match their plumbing?

          • H Carlisle

            David, how will you even know that someone is transgender without actually looking at their genitalia. This is an invasion of privacy and is highly inappropriate. You should be more concerned with actually using the bathroom, as opposed to inspecting the genitals of everyone else around you. It does not matter who is using the stall, they’re simply performing a human function. Why are you so uncomfortable with this?

          • H Carlisle

            I am interested, David, in what you believe is inherently wrong against polygamy. I understand that you chose this example as a futile attempt at comic relief but I am generally interested.

          • David Obermark

            Polygamist societies are sick. How are they sick? Let us look at fundamentalist Mormons. They have little boy and little girl babies at equal rates. They raise these little boys to think everything is OK with polygamy, but when these boys grow into men, there are not enough women to go around. Excess boys are kicked out of their society.

            These polygamist societies should be stomped out. There was nothing comic in my comment, it was all serious.

          • H Carlisle

            David, there are fewer than 60,000 practicing fundamentalist Mormons in the United States, though this is a very high estimate. Research also suggests that there only between 8,000 to 15,000 FLDS members practicing plural marriage. This religion does not force plural marriage on anyone, it is a choice. There is no such thing as “excess boys.” There is no way that you will ever be affected by fundamentalist Mormons, even if you object to their practices in theory, so there is no need for them to be “stomped out.”

          • David Obermark

            Tell that to the boys who were kicked out the the FLDS communities because there were not enough girls to go around. The truth is the reason the young boys would be competition with the old men for the affections of the young girls. While the examples of young men being kicked out are legion, I have yet to hear of a young lady being kicked out. (Some do leave by their own decision.)

            You have exposed yourself. You would have no problem if the P for polygamy was added to LGBTQIA. I wonder if you also will argue that there is nothing wrong with prostitution either? After all, most times (but not always) those participating are consenting adults. Would you add 2 P’s to the list?

      • Dan

        Again, you’re criticizing the owner of the property for creating rules as to how its property should be used. You may think they’re unnecessary, but there’s nothing inherently “liberal” or “conservative” about that, except in a snarky, talk-radio way.

        The fact is that you’re only making this argument because you disagree with the concept of a transgender person using the “wrong” bathroom.

        And BTW, there is absolutely a rule covering the type of toilet paper to be used in many state buildings. Tenant agencies often have specific details regarding amenities in their contract with the Department of General Services, mostly because DGS has shown a tendency to skimp on such amenities (e.g., one-ply toilet paper) ostensibly to trim their budget. Toilet paper quality is a frequently-specified item. That is the type of mundane details that go into corporate or state lease agreements all the time. If there was an executive order instead, would that truly be any different?

        • You’re correct – we spent centuries believing that it’s appropriate to bring guns into government buildings until problems arose that made it important to stop doing that.

          Has that happened with having bathrooms for both genders? No. Are property owners free to decide how they handle bathrooms for their properties? Yes, to the extent that they comply with building code requirements that generally call for certain numbers of bathrooms based on the capacity of the building.

          Are those regulations written by the state legislature? No. They’re generally written as ordinances adopted by a local government and put into a building code. And they aren’t based on politics, but on legitimate questions of public safety and convenience, and they’re bare minimums generally.

          I am making this argument because I think it is absurd for the government to tell a transgendered person which bathroom is the wrong one. That’s for them to decide.

          And yes, there probably is a rule about the quality of TP, that’s an administrative rule, not a law, and it wasn’t passed and debated by the legislature. Come on, Dan. You’re stretching here.

          The fundamental point is simple – this is a decision government doesn’t need to get involved in.

          • Dan

            I actually agree that government should steer clear of this debate whenever possible (likely for different reasons than you) other than to protect all people from threats and physical harm, but that’s different than whether the government “can” do something. I’m also chuckling at the notion that a conservative blogger has essentially said that a property owner should not be permitted to set rules for how its property is used by its employees/invitees. There is literally no other way for the public sector to establish rules binding on the public than through laws, regulations, or (some) executive orders. Should Kroger be able to set a policy on the use of bathrooms by transgender individuals? If so, why not the state government for its own bathrooms?

            Is there a problem with transgenders and bathrooms? Not for me, but it is a problem for some people, mostly those that identify as transgender. This isn’t a new issue… it’s just one that those individuals are finally willing to discuss in public. I’m guessing that you don’t actually know any transgender people–if you did, perhaps you wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss the issue as “not a problem” for them. Of course, the Marshall bill will not solve their problems but instead exacerbate them, but you cannot dismiss the issue as being “not a problem.”

            And I’m not the one who brought up toilet paper. I just threw that fact out there as a semi-humorous response to your slippery slope example of toilet paper rules.

          • I’m not a blogger.

            If you want to get into semantics, the property owner here is the people, since these buildings are built and operated with public money, so you’re basically saying that one owner can tell another owner where they can pee in a building they own.

            The private sector can do what they want, and people can self select whether to patronize those places if they choose to. There’s no way to do that with public buildings, so the standards aren’t the same and we shouldn’t try to compare the two.

            It doesn’t matter to me which bathroom a transgendered person uses. I also don’t think it should matter to anybody else, including them. Everybody gets judged based on the things they do, and it’s absurd when we run around trying to use government to make sure that nobody has to be embarrassed or inconvenienced because of something they can’t control.

  • Steve Waters

    Brian, it’s kind of common sense that we don’t want the opposite sex using the locker rooms and bathrooms at schools. Why use our public schools and our children as a social experiment, last ditch effort by Obama? This is a common sense issue with broad support among a vast sector of the citizens of VA. It’s not a morality issue as much as it is a parental authority, student privacy and safety issue and it has a good compromise of letting gender confused children use a private bathroom.

    • It’s kind of common sense that Republicans shouldn’t want government telling people where they can and can’t take a leak.

      Last time I checked Steve, bathrooms have stalls. Do you think the next step in this “social experiment” is they take down the stalls and just have everybody crap on the floor? Come on.

      The left started this, and as I noted in the article, it was wrong that they did so. But you don’t correct that wrong by sticking government into every public bathroom in the Commonwealth.

      I’m sure handing out free money would have broad support among a vast sector of the citizens of Virginia, but we shouldn’t do that either.

    • Stephen Spiker

      What does “broad support among a vast sector of the citizens” even mean?

  • Meg Kilgannon

    Conservatives did not ask to have this fight. The Left is using this issue as a wedge to separate parents and children. The next step will be to say that schools shouldn’t notify parents when Johnny wants to be Jane, because he/she is in danger from parental reaction to that. So you men think it is OK for your daughter to share a bed on a school trip with a “girl” with a penis? You want your daughter changing for gym class in a locker room with a biological boy? Liberals are the ones out of control here. If conservatives believe in family values, they should respect the dignity of women and protect the privacy and safety of ALL.

    • As I noted in the article, just because the left is doing something bad, we don’t get a pass when we do something bad in response ot that.

      I haven’t seen anywhere the suggestion that transgendered kids would be forced to sleep together on overnight trips. As for the rest, those are issues that are best left to the folks in the schools to figure out – you don’t need the General Assembly deciding who gets to change in which changing room when.

      As an aside, I don’t remember ever having to get naked to change for gym class, so I don’t get what the issue there is. You do realize that they can find just about every kind of tittilating stuff they want on the internet – there are easier ways to see people in various states of undress than to pretend to be someone of the same sex in a high school.

      This entire issue is absurd when you stop to think about it.

      • David Obermark

        One of the arguments against tolerance of homosexuals in years past is that it would start the snowball rolling. Well now the snowball is rolling.

        I was in favor of tolerance back in the days when tolerance was not cool. How does that song go? “Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it all.”

        • Doing the right thing because somebody might do something bad later on doesn’t detract from the value of doing the right thing.

          • David Obermark

            And failure to draw a line and say enough is enough does not yield positive results either. Look at what is happening. Critics claimed that if we allowed gay marriage none of the additional fears we had would be in play. Now they are in play.

          • You’re not going to win me over with a slippery slope argument. The things critics said are largely not happening.

          • David Obermark

            How can you say that? They won on gay marriage and now we are arguing about allowing men into women’s bathrooms.

            Not happening?

          • This has nothing to do with gay marriage. Gays aren’t the ones asking to use these bathrooms.

            You might as well argue that passing the Affordable Care Act led to ISIS forming. They’re two completely different things.

          • David Obermark

            You are getting absurd in your comparisons. Mine were closely related and yours can not be further apart.

          • Yours aren’t closely related. That’s the point.

          • H Carlisle

            David, who is this mysterious “they?” Hardworking, tax-paying, Americans? Or are you implying that the group of people that you so cleverly refer to as pronouns is some kind of enemy that is looking to undermine the country? Not happening?

          • H Carlisle

            My fear is that people like you, David, are more concerned with the genitalia of the people in the bathroom than the reason you went in there in the first place.

        • H Carlisle

          David, this is implying that you are now against tolerance (or intolerant). Interestingly enough, intolerant is a synonym for words like “bigotry,” “prejudice,” and “dogmatism.”

  • mark Jawsz

    I often side with the rightwing of the GOP, but this transgender-bathroom issue is much ado about nothing. Transgender folks along with transvestites have been using female bathrooms for years. This is another phony issue thrown out there just to merely divide us and set Left against Right.

  • Meg Kilgannon
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  • DJRippert

    Nothing is as easy as it seems. Do I really want Caitlin Jenner standing next to me at the urinal (assuming that’s still possible). Not really. Ms Jenner belongs in the Ladies’ Room. However, if you would have asked me in high school which locker room I’d prefer to shower in … I would have tried my best to join the cheerleaders after the game.

  • Lawrence Wood

    This whole school bathroom national (and therefore local state) controversy is not even based on a penned federal directive as in fact NO Federal directive whatsoever even exists. No legislation was produced, no presidential executive letter or action (as implied in a comment below) the whole tempest in a tea pot was the result of a joint letter from the Departments of Education and Justice forwarded to schools with recommended guidelines to suggest that “transgender students enjoy a supportive and nondiscriminatory school environment.”

    No penalties, no mandates, no requirements nothing. The rational state boards of education across America have filed this communication in the wastebasket where it most certainly belonged. There is no federal demand or requirement to do anything here and with Trump on his way to the WH and new Education Secretary Betsy DeVos fourteen days from office and counting this is a gigantic nothing burger tailor made for the nation’s political drama queens to engage in political theater over.

    As regards the Supreme Court case you would need to believe that the court is willing to set national precedent based solely on complete deference to a single unpublished agency letter that does not carry the force of law and was adopted in the context of the claimant dispute under consideration.

    If that flies we might as well just toss in the same garbage can the US Constitution where this progressive missive belongs. Just because the ring master screams at you to stand up and dance a jig doesn’t mean the thinking individual must comply. Bob Marshall needs to get reattached to reality on this issue.

  • Leon Wilkeson

    I believe we are overthinking this. I don’t think the conversation needs to go past, “why the F are you creating a solution for a problem that does not exist?” Other than a random token example (the existence of which I am unfamiliar), can anyone cite instances of trannys going into bathrooms and sexually assaulting anyone? I cant. Not one. Why needlessly bring up the most divisive issues that are sure to bring more negative than positive attention? If your answer is, “BUT THEM FAGGOTS…AND MEH KIDS!…”, then don’t answer. No one wants sexual predators on the street, but the fact is, all 25 or 30 chicks with penises running around the State of VA just want to go into a stall and pee. Marshall would flip his f-ing lid if he walked into the pisser and some 6 foot tall ‘woman’ was peeing in the urinal. Give it a rest.

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