The announcement by NYC officials that they are undertaking a citywide ad campaign to inform New Yorkers of a little known law has triggered outrage as well as safety fears among community members.
“What this law, for all practical purposes, is saying is that it is illegal to limit a specific restroom for the usage of ladies or men,” said a local askan, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.
In response to an inquiry by Hamodia, a city spokesperson confirmed that the law, which has been on the books since 2002, and was defined in detail last December by the NYC Commission for Human Rights, applied equally to all “public accommodations,” whether it is a city-owned facility or a privately owned wedding hall or supermarket. The spokesperson insisted that in all the years the law has been in effect there haven’t been any reports that this law has endangered public safety, and the concerns raised by those opposing the ad campaign are based on a “myth.”
The askan rejected that argument.
“Until now, virtually no one even heard of this law. As long as it was buried in some obscure regulation, it had little chance to do harm. By publicizing it, the city is putting people using these restrooms in very real danger.”
Violators may face civil penalties of up to $125,000 for violations, and up to $250,000 for violations found to be “willful, wanton or malicious.” There is no limit to the amount of compensatory damages the Commission may award to an individual they consider to be a “victim of discrimination.”
The city spokesperson confirmed that there are no religious exemptions to this law.