OXFORD, AL (WBRC) - It is now illegal to use a public bathroom or changing room which does not match the gender on your birth certificate in Oxford, Ala.
A law was passed Tuesday night in response to Target's policy allowing employees and shoppers to use bathrooms and changing rooms that match their gender identity.
"The policy creates an unsafe environment," said Steven Waits, council president.
There's a Target store in the Oxford Exchange.
"It's being put in to protect women, children and families from voyeurs, child molesters, exhibitionists, sexual predators and others who might use these policies to their advantage," said Waits.
When asked if the law then associates transgender people with sexual predators, Waits replied "that's not the spirit of this law."
The ordinance carries penalties of a $500 fine or six months in jail, according to Police Chief Bill Partridge.
Enforcement of the misdemeanor will be the same as other misdemeanor city laws. A person would have to call police to complain, when police arrive the officer would have to witness the crime. After that, a person's information is gathered and the person who called in the complaint would have to sign out a warrant, according to Partridge.
Waits says the ordinance was spurred by people contacting city hall concerned about safety after Target announced their policy.
Earlier this month the American Family Association, a conservative Christian group, began a petition to boycott Target because of the ordinance. So far, more than 500,000 have signed the petition saying they will shop elsewhere.
We have emailed Target for a response to this new ordinance.
Read the ordinance here: