Towns pushes out new potty bill-YourNabe.com
By Stephen Witt
Toilets are the new face of discrimination, and one Brooklyn lawmaker is doing something about it.
A bill introduced by Rep. Ed Towns (D-Canarsie) would require that all new federal buidings have as many facilites for women as they do for men — solving perhaps the country’s biggest female discrimination issue since the ladies were granted suffrage.
“Our nation’s history shows that the structure and accessibility of American public restrooms have served as manifestations of more deeply rooted problems of discrimination, among race, physical ability and gender,” said Towns.
Towns said a similar bill in the city council alerted him of this pressing national issue.
As a city councilwoman in 2005, Yvette Clarke (D-Flatbush) successfully introduced a city law requiring venues accommodating up to 150 patrons to provide at least two bathroom stalls for every men’s bathroom stall.
Clarke, who is a co-sponsor on the federal version of bill, would not comment on it.
The bill is reminescent of a similar one Towns wrote in 2007, which failed to get through Congress. That legislation required all buildings receiving at least $1.5 million in federal funds have a two-to-one ratio of women’s to men’s bathrooms.
Asked if a possible solution to the dilemma could be simply making all bathrooms unisex — as is the case in some European nations -— a Towns spokeswoman poo-poohed the idea.
“The congressman is so focused on gender restroom parity that he has not had an opportunity to explore the issue of unisex facilities,” said the spokeswoman.