SUPPORTS DOHERTY "INFORMED CONSENT LEGISLATION"
Republican candidate for Governor Steve Lonegan today asked opponent Chris Christie to comment on a vote taken by Christie's state chairman, Senator Joseph Kyrillos, and three state co-chairmen (Senator Tom Kean, Assemblyman Jon Bramnick, and Assemblyman Peter Biondi) that would prohibit a legislative employee from preventing an adult male from using the same restroom facilities as female school children the state house frequently hosts.
On Friday, Assemblyman Michael Doherty introduced "informed consent" legislation requiring the Legislature to inform parents of school children who visit the State House, prior to the visit, of the Legislature’s new "Anti-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy". The new policy, which was arbitrarily imposed on the Legislature by the Assembly Speaker and Senate President, includes "gender identity or expression" as a "protected" group.
The bill will provide that the parent or guardian of any school child who visits the State House on a class trip shall be informed that under the new policy the possibility exists that their child will have to share restroom facilities with an adult of the opposite sex. This would occur in the case of an adult male "presenting" as a female or an adult female as a male.
In its Auditor column on Sunday, the Star-Ledger quoted a spokesman for the Democrat Speaker's office, who defended the new policy by calling it "bi-partisan", in reference to the votes of Kyrillos, Kean, Bramnick, and Biondi.
As members of Legislative Services Commission, Kyrillos, Kean, Bramnick and Biondi approved the new policy for the Office of Legislative Services on December 15, 2008. On March 1, 2009, the Assembly Speaker and Senate President extended the policy to include members of the Legislature, partisan staff, district office employees and all personnel in the Offices of the Senate Secretary and Assembly Clerk. Membe rs of the Legislature were not informed of the new policy until April 20, 2009.
Before the Legislative Services Commission approved the draft policy last December, a member of the Legislature sent a letter to the Commission's members expressing a number of concerns, including the possibility that adult males would share restroom facilities with female children.
"Included in the 'protected' groups outlined in the document is 'gender identity or expression.' There was a New York City case recently, where a man who 'expressed' himself as a woman argued that he should not be excluded from using women's toilet facilities in furtherance of the 'expression.'"
"Now I'm wondering if, under the proposed policy, it would be considered discrimination or harassment to bar such a man from using the women's toilet facilities in the State House. I bring this matter to your attention because the Legislature often plays host to busloads of very young school girls who have a need, as children do, to use our toilet facilities."
Subsequent correspondence from the Office of Legislative Services confirmed that the possibility does exist of adult males being permitted to share restroom facilities with female children.
"This policy is just another example of New Jersey state government's political correctness run amok," Lonegan said. "It's just one more reason why this state needs a conservative change. Chris Christie is nothing more than more of the same."
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