Last month, a San Jose state legislator introduced a bill to outlaw retail stores from displaying children’s clothes and toys according to sex. Assemblyman Evan Low, the author of AB 2826, says the legislation was inspired by an 8-year-old girl who took offense that stores tell her what to wear and play with. This attempt to prohibit messages or speech Low doesn’t like is similar to a bill the Assemblyman introduced in 2018, which sought to regulate conversations adults had with their counselor or pastor regarding unwanted gender confusion or same-sex attraction.
“Assemblyman Evan Low is targeting the rights of others and introducing more gender confusion into the everyday lives of Californians,” said Jonathan Keller, President of California Family Council. “Sadly, Low’s efforts to trample the free speech and free press of others is yet another attempt to ban messages with which he disagrees. Low also did this several years ago when he tried to regulate conversations about gender and sexuality between adults and their pastors and counselors. Mr. Low has no right to force private organizations to speak his preferred government message about gender and sexuality.”
According to AB 2826, “Keeping similar items that are traditionally marketed either for girls or for boys separated makes it more difficult for the consumer to compare the products and incorrectly implies that their use by one gender is inappropriate.” To fix this perceived problem, the bill requires retail stores with more than 500 employees to no longer separate by gender its childcare articles, and child clothing or toys. A retail department store violating this law is liable for a $1000 civil penalty.
“I was inspired to introduce this bill after 8-year-old Britten asked, ‘Why should a store tell me what a girl’s shirt or toy is?’” stated Assemblymember Evan Low in a press release. “Her bill will help children express themselves freely and without bias. We need to let kids be kids.”
Pacific Justice Institute Senior Staff Attorney Matt McReynolds points out how Low is no longer trying to convince people to agree with his opinions, but forcing minds to change with government coercion. “AB 2826 pursues the misguided course of fines and mandates over persuasion on an issue about which Californians hold strong and differing opinions—gender,” McReynolds wrote in an opposition letter. “By ordering the removal of gendered signage and expression in stores, the legislation creates a content-based restriction. As the Supreme Court has made clear in recent years, such distinctions are presumptively unconstitutional.”
Call to action:
Politely voice your opposition to this bill at Asm. Evan Low’s capitol office: (916) 319-2028.