To pee or not to pee, that is the question


We all know that the law protects people from discrimination based on sex, race, religion and sexual orientation, but soon we might have to add homelessness to that list.

You see, there is a new bill set to create a ‘Bill of Rights’ for the homeless within our community.

What does this mean, you might ask? It means that no one can be discriminated against based upon whether or not they are homeless. It would also give the homeless legal protection to engage in life-sustaining activities on public property.

Life sustaining activities include sleeping, congregating, panhandling and urinating.

It may be true that when you gotta go you gotta go, but pissing on the sidewalks or in the gutter is not what most expect to see when they go out in public.

The main attributes of this law on discrimination are great things to strive for, as no one should be discriminated against in any way.

In fact, Rhode Island passed a similar bill just last year that protects the homeless from being kicked out of public places and being denied jobs based on being homeless.

Protecting the homeless from discrimination is important as it’s hard to get off the street if you are denied things because you are on the street. So it’s clear that California’s law would be good, just as Rhode Island’s was, right?

Wrong. The issue with California’s Homelessness bill is that it goes too far past the great core concept of ending discrimination.

The proposed bill even includes that the homeless must be able to have 24 hour access to public restrooms, meaning that taxpayer money will go into making sure these facilities are open and maintained at all times.

Now, if we are paying to keep the restrooms of the public open all the time, then why should there be the ability for public urination at all times?

Public urination laws that punish offenders with jail have been described by some to be at times quota filling laws just used to get the homeless off the streets and out of sight.

While this could be true, taxpayers will be paying to keep restrooms open to be used, but if a homeless person instead decides they want to pee on the side of a local restaurant wall, well that’s all fine and dandy should the law pass.

Allowing urination on streets in front of public venues and businesses that are the livelihood of many brings us no closer to solving the issue of helping the homeless gain a home.

It doesn’t seem entirely fair to those that do happen to have a home to be forced to deal with their home or business being a possible bathroom target should the bill get passed.

I can see it now: the first case to go to court will be a discrimination case of a man with a home claiming he should be able to piss in the gutter.

Ending discrimination is a worthy goal, but an even better one is to address the problem that society seems unwilling or unable to solve. Finding a way to actually get people off the streets and into homes and jobs.