GOP senators are working to ensure that transgender people can use public bathrooms of the gender with which they identify under legislation introduced Tuesday by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
The proposal would allow transgender individuals to use facilities consistent with their gender identity without fear of discrimination and with no need to apply for a state-issued ID.
In addition, the measure would allow individuals to have access to the men’s and women’s bathrooms and locker rooms of their choosing.
It’s a proposal that would be supported by the American Civil Liberties Union, which has urged the White House to delay the implementation of the measure.
But the proposal faces opposition from GOP senators and their allies, who say that it would force transgender individuals into the public restrooms of their birth.
They say the bill would lead to harassment, assault and bullying.
“The Republican leadership has taken the wrong approach,” said Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, the Senate’s first openly transgender senator.
“It is an attempt to strip people of their fundamental civil rights.
We will not tolerate this.”
Senate Republicans said they will move forward with the bill if the Trump administration moves forward with plans to roll back protections for transgender people.
The measure is the latest in a series of anti-LGBT bills introduced in the Senate, including one that would bar federal contractors from discriminating against transgender workers.
Senate Democrats are trying to make it clear that they’ll not support the legislation, which would allow a handful of people to be protected from discrimination and harassment based on sexual orientation, gender identity and expression.
Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah said Tuesday that he believes transgender people have a right to be able to use the public bathrooms that correspond with their identities.
“I have no idea what they are going to do with the bathrooms in the United States of America,” Lee said of the transgender bill.
Lee’s colleague, Republican Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, said he is “open to the idea” of extending protections to transgender individuals.
“I’m not for it.
I would oppose it,” Portman said.
Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, the most outspoken Republican on the issue, told reporters that he has not spoken to McConnell about the proposal.
“But the reality is we need to make sure that there’s a federal law,” Graham said.
“And that is the transgender bathroom law, and it’s not up to the president.”
Democrats have been pushing the White Hill GOP bill since last year, when a transgender man named Gavin Grimm was forced to use a women’s restroom in Virginia.
Republicans have been working on the legislation since May.
In May, the House passed a version of the bill that would have allowed transgender individuals the same protections as other individuals in the U.S. The Senate, however, passed a bill that had the language amended to include protections for those who identify as female.
McConnell’s bill would give transgender people the same legal protections as others under existing law.
It would also provide an exemption for states and localities that have adopted policies that provide privacy and safety for transgender individuals, including protections for bathrooms, locker rooms and changing facilities.