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Republicans split on transgender bathroom laws

Posted at 6:45 PM, Apr 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-22 18:45:19-04

North Carolina and Mississippi have recently passed laws restricting access for transgender people, many of whom would prefer to use the restroom of the gender with which they identify.

In 2015, Florida State Representative Frank Artiles of Miami proposed a similar bill called the Single Sex Public Facility Bill, which would have made it a crime for transgender people to use their preferred restroom in most cases.

While it didn't become a law in Florida, Artiles defended the bill, saying it was about protecting all citizens, adding that transgender people can legally change their gender.

"A transgender can easily change their passport or license," he said. 

This week, President Obama criticized the new laws in North Carolina and Mississippi.

"The laws that have been passed there are wrong," Obama said. "I just disagree with them, when it comes to respecting the equal rights of  all people, regardless of sexual orientation."\

Fox 4 reached out to Florida Governor Rick Scott to find out whether he would support a bill such as the Single Sex Public Facility Bill, should it ever cross his desk. A spokesperson said that Scott would review any legislation, but that he is opposed to discrimination of any kind.

While Republican presidential hopeful Ted Cruz does not approve of the new laws in Mississippi and North Carolina, Donald Trump supports transgender-friendly bathroom policies.

Critics caution that such policies could open the door to sexual predators.