A sign for an inclusive restroom. (Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images)
In a defiant stand, Nashville’s top prosecutor has refused to enforce a “hateful” Tennessee law that demands businesses post signs saying trans people can use their bathrooms.
The grotesque bill, among a raft of anti-trans bills that have deeply curtailed trans rights, was signed by governor Bill Lee last week. Making the state the first to force businesses and government facilities to signpost if they allow trans folk to use the correct bathrooms, locker rooms or changing rooms.
But the bill may face a major roadblock after District Attorney General Glenn Funk said Monday (24 May) that his office will not enforce the legislation.
“I believe every person is welcome and valued in Nashville,” Funk said in a statement to News4 Nashville.
“Enforcement of transphobic or homophobic laws is contrary to those values. My office will not promote hate.”
Funk’s vocal opposition to the law muddies what was an already murky bill. As much as the legislation soared through the state legislature, questions still remain over how the bill is, well, actually enforced.
The bill does not include details on fines or penalties.
HB1182 requires any “public or private entity or business that operates a building or facility open to the general public” and allows a “member of either biological sex to use any public restroom within the building or facility” to “post notice of the policy at the entrance of each public restroom in the building or facility”.
The sign included in the bill must read: “This facility maintains a policy of allowing the use of restrooms by either biological sex, regardless of the designation on the restroom.”
As Tennesee hurtles into anti-trans hatred, top officeholders are gritting their teeth at what the economic ramifications of the legislation will be.
“This law is part of an anti-LGBT political platform of hate and division,” said Nashville mayor John Cooper in a statement to the Tennessean.
“One of the risks for Nashville is that the hostility inherent to these signs can be the equivalent of hanging up another sign — a ‘do not come here’ sign’.
“We are an inclusive city, and that won’t change. But, unfortunately, we will be made vulnerable economically by this unwelcoming legislation.”