California lawmakers pass bill requiring gender neutral sections in department stores

California lawmakers pass bill requiring gender neutral sections in department stores
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The California State Legislature on Wednesday passed a bill intended to ban the practice of separating store sections for items like toys by the traditional pink and blue color schemes, The Associated Press reported.

The bill does not seek to prohibit boys and girls sections in department stores but rather is aimed at requiring stores to have a gender-neutral section displaying items "regardless of whether they have been traditionally marketed for either girls or for boys," according to the AP. 

The bill would only affect department stores with 500 or more employees and would also not apply to clothes but only to toys and "childcare items," the AP noted. 

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California lawmakers have previously tried to bass this bill at least three times and first embarked on this latest attempt in March.

Assemblyman Evan Low (D), who authored the current bill, told the AP that it was inspired by a 10-year-old girl named Britten whose mother works in his office.

"Britten asked her mom while shopping why certain things in a store were 'off limits' to her because she was a girl, but would be fine if she was a boy," Low said. "Thankfully, my colleagues recognized the pure intentions of this bill and the need to let kids be kids."

The bill has received opposition from conservative groups and other lawmakers, with State Sen. Melissa Melendez (R) explaining that she voted against the bill to "let parents be parents."

"Unlike the author, I actually have children, five of them to be exact, and I can tell you it is very convenient for parents," Melendez told the AP. "I don't think parents need the government to step in and tell them how they should shop for their children."