The Florida attorney who bragged about bringing a gun into Target restrooms to protect herself isn’t the only person who’s angry about the department store’s decision to allow transgender employees and customers to use the restroom of their choice. Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz spoke about the matter at length, and now the city of Oxford, Alabama, has entered the political discourse with an ordinance promising fines and jail time to all who defy it.
According to AL.com, the city council unanimously passed an ordinance making it illegal for anyone to use the wrong public bathroom. That is to say, if a person is caught using a public restroom designated for a certain gender, and said gender isn’t the one listed on their birth certificate, then local police can arrest them. As police Chief Bill Partridge put it in a statement to the press:
“If somebody sees something that makes them uncomfortable, they would call the police,” he said. “If the person is still there when the officer arrives, the officer has to witness the crime. Then we take down the person’s information, and the person who reported it has to sign out a warrant.”
Anyone arrested for violating the city ordinance could face $500 in fines or up to six months in jail.
Of course, this is Alabama — not Mississippi or North Carolina, where anti-LGBT legislation targeting transgender people’s use of public facilities was passed. Yet Oxford City Council President Steven Waits clarified the reasoning behind the ordinance in a statement, noting that it’s a direct response to Target since the department store chain has a location in the Oxford Exchange shopping center.