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LGBT advocates and allies were up in arms last week over the passage of a new law in North Carolina that adversely affected their community—specifically in regards to bathroom use by trans people. A similar bill was just voted on in Georgia, and one grocery chain wanted to assure its customers that there would always be a safe space for them.
Eric Lesh, an attorney and project director at Lambda Legal, a legal organization for LGBT rights, tweeted a photo Sunday that showed a sign posted on the door of a bathroom in a Georgia Kroger grocery store. He wrote: “Because EVERYONE goes grocery shopping!”
The sign was widely praised by other Twitter users, mainly for its spirit of basic human decency. Tweets called it “completely logical,” while another wrote: “Thank you Kroger for helping us reach our destination, a more just world.”
It’s unclear in which Georgia Kroger store this sign was posted, but it doesn’t appear to be a policy handed down from Kroger’s corporate headquarters in Ohio. Nevertheless, a spokesman from corporate shared a statement with the Daily Dot supporting this particular store’s effort to provide an inclusive experience for all shoppers.
Kroger stores with unisex bathrooms are designed to serve our customers in all the ways stated on that sign: parents with young children, parents with disabled children, adults with aging parents, the LGBTQ community and for any other reason such an accommodation might be more convenient. … We are proud to serve each and every customer that walks in our doors.
House Bill 757 (H.B. 757) was passed in the Georgia state legislature on March 16, and on Monday Republican Gov. Nathan Deal gave a detailed speech at a press conference condemning certain sections of the bill. It’s because of these sections in question that he says he plans on vetoing the bill when it comes across his desk.
HB 757 enumerates certain actions that religious leaders, faith-based organizations and people of faith shall not be required to take or perform. These include solemnizing a marriage, attending such marriages, hiring church personnel or renting church property when such acts would be contrary to their sincerely held religious beliefs. While most people would agree that government should not force such actions, there has not been a single instance of such taking place in Georgia. If there has been any case of this type in our state it has not been called to my attention. The examples being cited by the proponents of this bill have occurred in other states that have very different laws than Georgia.
He closed by writing “I do not think we have to discriminate against anyone to protect the faith based community in Georgia” and “This is about the character of our State and the character of its people. Georgia is a welcoming State filled with warm, friendly and loving people. … I intend to do my part to keep it that way. For that reason, I will veto HB 757.”
The character he refers to certainly comes through in Kroger’s echoing message of inclusion.
Photo via Mike Kalasnik/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)
Marisa Kabas is a lifestyle reporter and activist. Her work has been published by Fusion, Fast Company, and Today. She’s also served as an editorial campaigns director for Purpose PBC, a social movement incubator.