A slew of laws scheduled to go into effect on Saturday and among them makes California the first state to mandate department stores to display products in a gender-neutral way. 

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 1084 on Oct.9, requiring department stores with over 500 employees to provide a gender-neutral section displaying "a reasonable selection." The new law will not take full effect until 2024. 

Items will be required to be displayed this way regardless of whether they've been traditionally marketed toward a distinct gender. This new law will not include clothing. 

The law will only apply to "childcare items," including hygiene and teething products. LGBTQ advocates maintained that traditional marketing methods' pink and blue hues pressure children to conform to gender stereotypes. 

Beginning Jan.1, 2024, retail department stores that fail to comply with this section are liable to a civil penalty not to exceed $250 for a first violation or $500 for a second offense. These will be considered civil penalties. 

Assemblyman Evan Low (D-San Jose) drew inspiration from the 10-year-old girl daughter of one of his staff members who asked why certain items in the store were "off-limits" because of her gender. 

Democrats have previously attempted to pass similar bills in the state Legislature in 2019 and 2020 but failed.

"Unjustified differences in similar products that are traditionally marketed either for girls or boys can be more easily identified by the consumer if similar items are not separated by gender. Combining boy's and girl's departments at retail stores with 500 or more employees into a kids department or creating a gender-neutral section will most definitely make all kids feel welcomed," Low said in a Sept.1 Assembly Floor Analysis.  

​​The Phluid Project, the sponsor of this bill, writes that "this bill will allow consumers, both parents, and children, to allow for creating and freedom of self-expression."

The bill received opposition from Republicans and conservative groups, arguing that the federal government should not tell parents how to shop for their children. According to Siskiyou Conservative Republicans, "a "store" is the private property no matter how many employees they employ. 

"They are in business to sell as much merchandise as possible to as many people as possible. Merchants are in the business of selling their goods, not social engineering. The free-market place is driven by the demand of their customers, not by-laws made by politicians. It is not the business of the state to parent their constituent's children nor to dictate to businesses how to organize or display their merchandise. The state has no authority to meddle in the details of how retailers market or display their products," Siskiyou Conservative Republicans wrote in a statement. 

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