South Carolina Gov says state doesn’t need bathroom privacy or religious liberty protections
COLUMBIA, SC, April 7, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) - Republican Governor Nikki Haley said a South Carolina law requiring public restrooms and school bathrooms be gender-specific was not "necessary."
“I don’t believe it’s necessary,” Haley said. "When we look at our situation, we’re not hearing of anybody’s religious liberties that are being violated."
Haley tried to label the bathroom privacy bill a religious freedom issue, saying it was unnecessary because South Carolina already passed a religious freedom bill in 1999. But the bill's sponsor, State Senator Lee Bright (R-Spartanburg), says his bill is "a public-safety issue” referring to men using women’s toilets, showers, locker rooms and private facilities.
Sen. Bright explained that his bill is about privacy, decency, and protecting women, and is “totally different from a religious-freedom bill.” It's "just common sense," he said.
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"Years ago, we kept talking about tolerance, tolerance, tolerance," Sen. Bright said on the legislative floor. "And now they want men who claim to be women to go in the bathroom with children."
Three other state senators, Kevin Bryant (R-Anderson), Mike Fair (R-Greenville) and Larry Martin (R-Pickens) are co-sponsoring the bill.
North Carolina recently passed a bill protecting the religious beliefs of employers and landlords, and Mississippi passed into law a measure to protect Christians from being forced by government to participate in homosexual "weddings." Both states have received nationwide backlash from pro-gay governors and major corporations. Missouri and Tennessee are also considering transgender-restricting "bathroom bills."
“This is not a battle that we’ve seen is needed in South Carolina,” Haley said. “It’s not something that we see that citizens are asking for.”
But pro-homosexual governors and corporations are not the only ones fighting against gender-specific intimate facilities. South Carolina's own Chamber of Commerce is now actively campaigning against Sen. Bright’s re-election, because of his proposed bill to protect bathroom privacy.
Sen. Bright is running for a third term this election, and S.C. Chamber of Commerce president Ted Pitts announced his organization will fight Bright's election campaign. “Sen. Bright is trying to create a political crisis that doesn’t exist,” Pitts, the former Chief of Staff to Gov. Haley, said. “We’ll be working on electing serious senators next year who will be focused on addressing the state’s infrastructure and workforce needs, and limiting government’s role in our lives.”
The Greenville Chamber of Commerce has also spoken against Bright's bill. Chamber president Carlos Phillips stated, "This legislation simply opens a contentious debate on a problem we do not have here in our state."
Bright said the chambers of commerce are against his bill because "they will sacrifice Judeo-Christian values for a dollar."
As has happened in North Carolina and Mississippi, Big Business is expected to economically bully their way into the fight against the South Carolina pro-gender normalcy bill. Tire maker Michelin has already tentatively weighed in, stating, "We hope they will conduct the discussion with respect for all people in South Carolina, much as we aim to run our business every day."
Bright has three Republican primary challengers.