Colorado flushes away privacy in public accommodations

DENVER — A new Colorado state law has created "gender-free" restrooms and locker rooms statewide making it illegal to deny a person access to public facilities based on gender identity or the "perception" of gender identity.

Gov. Bill Ritter (D) signed SB 200 into law despite protests of thousands of families. According to the Family Research Council the legislation blurs the sexual lines by making all public accommodations, including locker rooms and restrooms, "gender-free." FRC states that they believe this law allows anyone—regardless of their biological identity—to be welcome in the men's or ladies' room, including cross-dressers, men who self-identify as women, women who self-identify as men, and people who haven't made up their minds. Complicating the law, Colorado defines "public accommodations" as everything from malls, restaurants, and schools to small and even home businesses.

The proponents of the measure said that it is about discrimination. Bruce DeBoskey, regional director of Denver's Anti-Defamation League told the Gazette that opponents of the law have had to "exaggerate the dangers and play on people's fears." He state that is was about fairness and justice.

"The other side says this is about discrimination. But the chance of offending a few people hardly justifies putting everyone else at risk, which is exactly what SB 200 does," according to FRC.  "For every transvestite who takes advantage of this law, there are a dozen sexual predators who will see this as a chance to put women and children into a vulnerable situation."

Focus on the Family launched a statewide awareness campaign criticizing the bill. The ads warned that cross-dressing predators could endanger children by using restrooms designated for the opposite sex.

"Who would have believed that the Colorado state legislature and its governor would have made it fully legal for men to enter and use women's restrooms and locker-room facilities without notice or explanation?" said James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family in a press release.

"Henceforth, every woman and little girl will have to fear that a predator, bisexual, cross-dresser or even a homosexual or heterosexual male might walk in and relieve himself in their presence."