Chinese Christian Union Sues San Francisco Over Public Open Air Urinal

A man urinates in the pissoir pissoir, at the corner of Dolores Park in San Francisco, California.
A man urinates in the pissoir pissoir, at the corner of Dolores Park in San Francisco, California. | (Photo: Pacific Justice Institute)

San Francisco's Chinese Christian Union and some of their neighbors have teamed up in a lawsuit against the city over the construction on an open air urinal, known as a pissoir, in a public park, which they say is discriminatory, offensive and a public health hazard.

The Pacific Justice Institute, a legal defense organization specializing in the defense of religious freedom, parental rights, and other civil liberties, filed the lawsuit on behalf of the plaintiffs in San Francisco's Superior Court last Thursday, challenging the city's use of public funds to encourage public urination. The San Francisco Chinese Christian Union is a religious nonprofit that does business in the city and County of San Francisco and represents 15 member churches, according to the lawsuit.

"PJI first reported on Feb. 4 that San Francisco had constructed a semi-circular structure, known as a pissoir, at the corner of Dolores Park. The wall is about 4 feet high and is completely open at the back, with no roof or doors. Men using the hole in the ground are visible to children playing in the park, passersby on the adjacent street, sidewalk and light rail, and to residents overlooking the park," they explained in a statement shared with The Christian Post.

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"PJI sent a demand letter to the city and County of San Francisco more than two months ago, identifying numerous legal problems with the pissoir. In response, San Francisco offered no substantive rebuttal but disclosed documents confirming that it spent at least $15,000 on the pissoir," continued the statement.

According to the lawsuit, the pissoir is located at the southwest quadrant of Mission Dolores Park at a busy street corner, between a sidewalk and a train stop.

"Persons urinate into the hole in public view. There is no signage, accessibility for persons with disabilities, and no place to wash hands," the plaintiffs argued, pointing to the offensive nature of the urinal.

"Persons urinating in the hole leave the pissoir with unwashed hands and either continue on their way on the public sidewalks into the community or they board the Muni train which stops 5 to 10 yards from the hole."

"These unsanitary conditions result in the spread of germs and disease. Allowing public urination at the pissoir is injurious to health. The safety and health of the public at large is endangered by the improper disposal of human waste in a public place. Allowing public urination at the pissoir is indecent, and offensive to the senses. Facilitating public urination is indecent because it is grossly unseemly or offensive to manners and morals," the lawsuit continued.

The plaintiffs are seeking equitable relief to prevent the continued illegal and wasteful expenditure of public funds to install and maintain the pissoir.

"The basis for the requested relief is that the pissoir violates the law and public policy regarding privacy, sex discrimination, public health, access for persons with disabilities, and the Plumbing Code. Because the city attorney and attorney general have failed to bring an action to halt the pissoir as a public nuisance, the plaintiffs bring this complaint," the lawsuit noted.

Brad Dacus, president of Pacific Justice Institute, added: "San Francisco's use of tax dollars to promote public urination is not only disgusting; it is also blatantly illegal. Officials would not and could not allow such a facility to be constructed by private businesses or residents, because it so obviously violates disability access and basic health and safety laws, to name a few. These officials are not above the law."

Contact: Follow Leonardo Blair on Twitter: @leoblair Follow Leonardo Blair on Facebook: LeoBlairChristianPost

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