A pair of California Democratic lawmakers have introduced a bill that would ban retailers — both online and in brick-and-mortar stores — from displaying and marketing separate sections for boys and girls toys, clothing, and other items.

The merchandise would have to be grouped together in a gender-neutral setting. Failure to do so could result in a $1,000 fine.

A similar bill was introduced and soon dropped, in the 2020 legislative session. According to the Sacramento Bee, the…

…inspiration for the bill came from the 9-year-old daughter of one of [Assemblyman Evan] Low’s staffers. The child told Low that she didn’t like how boy and girl sections were separated and that he should make a law against that.

The bill would not take effect until Jan. 1, 2024, and apply only to retail department stores with 500 or more employees.

Putting aside the notion that a staffer’s child was the inspiration for the bill…using state power to coerce a handful of retailers to achieve dubious policy ends is wrong (but not uncommon).

If customers want a gender-neutral toy and clothing aisle, they can ask for it (and probably get it – retail stores are in the business of catering to customers, after all).

As for the legislators pushing this…there’s nothing more important needing your attention right now? Schools and businesses open, vaccines readily available, your state’s broken power grid fixed, etc., etc.?

Image Credit: By Henri Sivonen from Helsinki, Finland (flickr: California State Capitol) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons