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Janesville passes anti-discrimination ordinance

JANESVILLE, Wis. (AP) — Officials in the Wisconsin city of Janesville, the hometown of Republican U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan, have passed an ordinance that says public spaces must allow people to use the restrooms of the gender they identify with.

The City Council voted 6-1 on Monday to pass the ordinance, despite concerns that it could create a loophole for child predators, the Janesville Gazette reported.

City Attorney Wald Klimczyk said those concerns were without merit and that people would be prosecuted for lewd acts or offenses in bathrooms, regardless of gender identification. “Those laws still apply,” Klimczyk said.

Similar laws designed to prevent discrimination have been passed or considered around the country. Gay rights advocates in North Carolina have sued over a law passed last week that prevents local governments from approving protections for LGBT people. Also, Georgia’s governor announced this week that he’d veto a “religious freedom” bill that critics of the measure say would have sanctioned discrimination.

Ryan spokeswoman AshLee Strong said his office will not comment on the local issue. The nine-term Republican congressman is a political anomaly in Janesville, a Democratic locale close to the Illinois border.

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