AB1084: Mandating Gender-Neutral Retail Departments

  Bob DeMoss | ChristianHeadlines Columnist | Friday, May 21, 2021
a woman and daughter clothes shopping, mandating gender-neutral retail departments

Gender-fluid clothing activist, fashion designer, and entrepreneur, Rob Smith, has a big problem. Big-box retailers aren’t interested in stocking his “The Phluid Project” clothing line. His solution? He’s working to manipulate California law into forcing retailers, under the threat of financial punishment, to carry products such as his.

Talk about the bully pulpit driving bully politics.

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Talk about the bully pulpit driving bully politics.

Smith lobbied the California LGBT Caucus to introduce legislation mandating the creation of gender-neutral spaces for clothing and toys. Smith claims he’s just trying to “protect” children from “gender stereotypes that cause serious, long-lasting harm”—although he doesn’t provide any empirical evidence to support his claim. Evidently, Caucus Chair Evan Low (D-San Jose) agreed and introduced Assembly Bill AB 1084.

If the bill ultimately passes into law, it will require “A retail department store that offers childcare items, children’s clothing, or toys for sale [to] maintain a gender-neutral section or area, to be labeled at the discretion of the retailer, in which a reasonable selection of the items, articles, and toys for children it sells shall be displayed, regardless of whether they have been traditionally marketed for either girls or for boys.”

What if they refuse to play ball? Retailers with more than 500 employees who fail to comply will be liable for a “civil penalty, not to exceed two hundred fifty dollars ($250) for a first violation or five hundred dollars ($500) for a subsequent violation” plus attorney’s fees and court costs. And we all know those fees and costs could run into the thousands of dollars.

This is yet another example of the government inserting itself into the private business practices of the retail sector, as we saw in the cases of Arlene’s Flowers, Masterpiece Cakeshop, Brush & Nib Studios, LC, and Memories Pizza, among others. Worse, this abuse of power is rooted in an agenda to de-gender gender. During his testimony in support of the measure, Smith said, “this is the beginning of the movement, and really creating a safe and affirming space for kids who don’t fall into this binary idea of what it is to be a boy and to be a girl.” He adds, “we’re trying to create a space for kids and parents to shop without gender stereotypes.”

Smith’s idea of erasing “gender stereotypes” is code language for eliminating the “binary idea” of male and female, which, in turn, paves the way for any number of gender realities. Not surprisingly, his clothing line includes tee-shirts echoing his radical agenda, including “Boycott the Binary,” “Gender is a Social Construct,” “Girl & Boy & Trans & They & WE.” If Smith gets his way, California retailers will have no choice but to redesign their floorplans to include gender-neutral zones—or pay a fine.

Matthew McReynolds, senior staff attorney at the Pacific Justice Institute, Center for Public Policy, opposes the bill saying, “There’s no limiting principle in this bill. So, one can only guess where it’ll lead next.” He’s especially concerned that “this would take the Unruh Civil Rights Act in a direction where significant fines and attorney fees could accrue, not because anyone is denied a service or the opportunity to purchase the goods they seek” but rather allow “a customer’s subjective experience of feeling uncomfortable with a store’s layout” to dictate “onerous penalties and fines.”

Nevertheless, AB 1084, as amended, has moved through the California legislative process, with the latest version passing on May 20, with 10 ayes, four noes, with two abstaining. Do parents need the help of the legislature to pick out appropriate toys for their children? What’s next? Will LGBTQ activists like Smith lobby legislators like Rep. Evan Low to pass laws forbidding parents from teaching their children that God’s creation of mankind was binary?

Considering that Smith claims this is “the beginning of the movement,” I wouldn’t be surprised if his next move is to censor the biblical texts supporting the Judeo-Christian binary view of human sexuality, such as: “So God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them” (Genesis 1:27 NIV). Is that far-fetched? Maybe not. Smith has said, “I just want to remind people we’re always in a state of un-learning and re-learning.” And I just want to remind people that “God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind” (Numbers 23:19). In other words, when God created mankind in His image, He’s not about to “un-learn” the binary nature of His creation to keep up with the latest trend.

Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Michael Jung

Bob DeMoss is a New York Times bestselling author of more than 40 books including collaborations with Phil Robertson/Duck Dynasty, Jim Daly/Focus on the Family, Andy Stanley, and Tim LaHaye/Left Behind. His latest short story is "Hazel: The Outlaw Mummy". Visit BobDeMoss.com.