OXFORD, Ala. (AP) — The city of Oxford, Alabama, has passed an ordinance making it illegal to use a public restroom different from the gender on a person’s birth certificate.
Council President Steven Waits tells local news outlets the ordinance passed Tuesday came in response to Target’s new restroom and changing room policies. Target announced the policies last week, which allow transgender employees and shoppers to use the restroom that matches their gender identity.
There is a Target store in the Oxford Exchange shopping center.
The ordinance makes the offense a misdemeanor. Oxford Police Chief Bill Partridge says the law will be enforced like any other city ordinance, such as noise violations or public indecency.
Violators of the ordinance could face a $500 fine or up to six months in jail.
The Human Rights Campaign of Alabama condemned the ordinance, saying it raises many privacy and legal concerns and gives very few details about how the law would be enforced.
“This ordinance is a shameful and vile attack on the rights and privacy of transgender people,” said HRC Alabama State Manager Eva Walton Kendrick. “Transgender people are our neighbors, our coworkers and our fellow churchgoers, and every Alabamian has the right to live their lives without fear of discrimination and prejudice. Throughout the country elected officials from both sides of the aisle, along with hundreds of business leaders and advocates throughout the country have resoundingly rejected these kinds of proposals, which only seek to demean and marginalize the transgender community.”