RICHMOND, Va. (WVEC) -- A Virginia lawmaker has introduced legislation similar to North Carolina's transgender bathroom law, which has consumed that state for months and scared off businesses and sporting events.
House Bill 1612, entitled the "Physical Privacy Act," states "an individual shall not enter a restroom, changing facility, or private area located in a government building unless such individual is a member of the sex designated to use such restroom, changing facility, or private area."
The bill, introduced by Republican Del. Bob Marshall, would affect public schools, public institutions of higher education and government buildings.
If passed, the bill would allow someone who uses a bathroom in a government facility to "bring an action against the government entity that owns, leases, or controls such building if such individual encounters a member of the opposite sex in such restroom, changing facility, or private area and the government entity allowed the member of the opposite sex to use or failed to take reasonable steps to prohibit the member of the opposite sex from using such restroom, changing facility, or private area."
A similar bill known as HB2 passed in North Carolina, which requires people to use restrooms in many public buildings corresponding to the sex on their birth certificates and excludes sexual orientation and gender identity from statewide anti-discrimination protections.
The legislation has little chance of success. A similar bill filed last year died in committee and Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe has vowed to veto such types of legislation.
Michael Berlucchi with Hampton Roads Pride issued the following statement to in response to House Bill 1612:
As the Virginia General Assembly begins to prepare for the 2017 session, we hope that our representatives will promote legislation that supports the freedom of all Virginians.
We hope that our leaders will oppose any legislation that would legalize discrimination against any group, especially members of the LGBT community. Any law that targets a Virginian on the basis of their identity, not only stands in opposition to our shared values, but would also harm Virginia businesses.
The vast majority of Americans support equal protection for LGBT people in employment, housing, and public accommodations. It is time for our leaders in Richmond to do their part to help create an equitable environment where all people can achieve their full potential in safety and freedom.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.