California has become the first state to say large department stores must display products like toys and toothbrushes in gender-neutral ways. The Associated Press is calling it a "win" for LGBT advocates who say the pink and blue hues of traditional marketing methods pressure children to conform to gender stereotypes.
"Legislators really need to stop forcing their personal opinions about gender upon those that disagree with them," responds Greg Burt of the California Family Council. "Stores are trying to put products on shelves in order to sell them the best way they can to their customers. Now the state legislature has jumped in the middle of that in telling stores that they have to promote products the way they want them promoted."
Burt believes this opens stores to a "never-ending number of complaints from activist groups who don't like the way a store is marketing their product to one sex or another."
Assemblyman Evan Low (D-San Jose) authored the bill that he says was inspired by the 10-year-old daughter of one of his staffers who wondered why certain items in the store were "off limits" to her because she was a girl.
"If somebody has a particular idea about how to market products to people who don't have the same desire as other people, then what you do is you start your own store," suggests Burt. "Legislators have given up on persuasion. Now they're just using their power to force people to give up their own views."
He says punishing people for not doing things a certain way is not something leaders of a free country do.