In introducing a law to regulate the sale of children’s clothing and toys, Congregation members, Evan Low, San Francisco D, and Cristina Garcia, Bell Gardens D, refer to the Unruh Civil Rights Act – landmark piece of legislation that it businesses Prohibits discrimination against people based on their gender, race, religion, disability, sexual orientation and other matters.
However, Assembly Bill 1084 does not promote civil rights – and greatly undermines the ability of retail stores to run their own businesses. The legislation would require retailers with 500 or more employees who sell childcare items, children’s clothing and toys to “keep undivided areas of their retail space” in order to sell items that are marketed in a gender-neutral manner.
In addition, the bill would “prohibit the use of signage in any undivided area stating that certain items are intended for either girls or boys”. Outside of these unisex areas, stores are also not allowed to state that items are “for boys” or “for girls”. AB 1084 also requires that website businesses have dedicated online areas that are gender neutral.
California doesn’t need additional laws micromanaging and penalizing businesses. This self-proclaimed civil rights law actually cheapens the noble intent of the Unruh law. It is one thing to forbid companies from discriminating against people, but another thing to tell them how to market and sell items for sale in order to change the public’s perception of gender roles.
To justify the legislation, the legislation argues that “unjustified differences in similar products traditionally marketed for either girls or boys can be more easily identified by the consumer when similar items are displayed closer together.” But of course the bill does not about promoting consumer choice, but about abusing the legislative process to impose the legislature’s sensitivity on others.
Retailers can perfectly control where and how they display items without legislative intervention. Given the urgent budget, debt, and coronavirus challenges facing the legislature, we are dismayed and Garcia would waste legislative time on nanny state nonsense.