(CNSNews.com) -Gov. Ralph Northam of Virginia, a Democrat, signed a law on Good Friday prohibiting “all places or businesses offering or holding out to the general public goods, services, privileges, facilities, advantages, or accommodations” from denying access to those things to people 18 years and older based on what the law calls “gender identity.”
The law goes on to define “gender identity” as follows: “The term ‘gender identity,’ when used in reference to discrimination in the Code and acts of the General Assembly, means the gender-related identity, appearance, or other gender-related characteristics of an individual with or without regard to the individual’s designated sex at birth.”
In effect, the new law that Northam signed prohibits businesses and other private organizations from denying the use of their ladies’ rooms—or locker rooms, or dressing rooms--to adult biological males.
The law includes a narrow exemption for “religious organizations” that are “not in fact open to the public.”
The exemption says: “The provisions of this section shall not apply to a private club, a place of accommodation owned by or operated on behalf of a religious corporation, association, or society that is not in fact open to the public, or any other establishment that is not in fact open to the public.”
The plain language of the law would seem to indicate that a Catholic or Christian school that sponsored football, basketball or baseball games on its campus would be required by the state to allow adult men—who say they are “transgender” and, therefore, “women”—to use the women’s rooms open to attendees of those events.
Both houses of the Virginia legislature, which passed the law that Northam signed, are controlled by Democrats.
“This legislation sends a strong, clear message—Virginia is a place where all people are welcome to live, work, visit, and raise a family,” said Northam in a signing statement.