California stores with more than 500 employees will soon be fined for not having a “gender-neutral” toy section once a new state law kicks in Jan. 1.
The bill, signed in 2021 by Democrat Gov. Gavin Newsom, will force stores that sell childcare items or toys to pay a $500 fine should the store fail to create a gender-neutral toy section for kids 12 years old and under.
A childcare item, according to the legislation text, “means any product designed or intended by the manufacturer to facilitate sleep, relaxation, or the feeding of children, or to help children with sucking or teething.”
Traditional boys and girls sections won’t be outlawed, but a gender-neutral section must also be created.
Greg Burt, Vice President of the California Family Research Council — a conservative public policy nonprofit group — told Fox News Digital in an interview Tuesday the law “violates the First Amendment.”
“This is government-compelled speech,” Burt said. “The government is deciding to tell a religious person, could be a Muslim-owned business, that they have to use certain words to advertise toys, and those words might violate the belief systems of that particular Muslim-owned business.
“You got the government now dictating the signage in stores, about what words can be used to advertise products,” he continued. “This is opening a Pandora’s Box.”
Many stores have already been complying with the law, a Los Angeles-based toy store owner told Fox News Digital on Tuesday.
According to the legislation, “Keeping similar items that are traditionally marketed either for girls or for boys separated makes it more difficult for the consumer to compare the products and incorrectly implies that their use by one gender is inappropriate.”
The legislation says that stores must include “a reasonable selection of the items and toys for children that it sells shall be displayed, regardless of whether they have been traditionally marketed for either girls or for boys.”
Failure to comply after Jan. 1, 2024, may result in civil penalties, enforced through legal action by the state attorney general, district attorney, or city attorney, with penalties ranging from $250 to $500 for subsequent violations.
Proponents of the law argue it will eliminate gender discrimination and stereotypes about boys and girls.
California Democrat lawmaker Evan Low, the author of the legislation, said after its passing, “We need to stop stigmatizing what’s acceptable for certain genders and just let kids be kids.
“My hope is this bill encourages more businesses across California and the U.S. to avoid reinforcing harmful and outdated stereotypes,” Low told CBS News in 2021.
The bill comes as conservatives have boycotted stores this year for transgender-related items, as seen sold in stores like Target that rolled out “tuck friendly” swimsuits for transgender people to conceal their genitalia.
Bud Light was also slammed by conservatives after the beer brand partnered with transgender activist Dylan Mulvaney.