Texas Set To Pass Transgender Bathroom Law
Texas Seeks to Triumph Where Others Have Failed.
A transgender “bathroom bill” appears to be on track to becoming law in Texas, though it may only apply to public schools.
A similar (broader) proposal mandating that virtually all transgender people use public restrooms according to the gender on their birth certificates already passed through the Texas Senate months ago.
A similar measure has stalled in the House, but supporters are using an amendment to tack bathroom limits onto a separate and unrelated bill that covers school emergency operation plans.
Rep. Chris Paddie (R) says it has “absolutely no intent” to discriminate. Should it pass, transgender students at public and charter schools would not be permitted to use the bathroom of their choice. Instead they would be directed to a separate, single-occupancy restrooms.
“It’s absolutely about child safety,” said Paddie. “This is about accommodating all kids.” Paddie has yet to describe exactly how transgender students are a safety risk to other cisgender students.
However, the change passed 91-50. Final House approval should come Monday. Then the modified bill will be sent to the Senate, where it is expected it will be easily supported.
Opposition Speaks Out
“This amendment is the bathroom bill and the bathroom bill is an attack on transgender people,” said Rep. Joe Moody (D). “Some people don’t want to admit that because they are ashamed, and this is shameful.”
A small group of Democratic women legislators went into the men’s restroom just off the House floor before debate began in protest. But with Republicans holding the majorities in both of Texas’ legislative chambers the action was purely symbolic. Rep. Senfronia Thompson (D), one of the House’s longest-serving and most-respected members, likened the new language to when restrooms nationwide were segregated by race.
“Bathrooms divided us then and bathrooms divide us now. Separate but equal is not equal at all,” Thompson said, drawing floor applause.
While Republican Gov. Greg Abbott has said he wants to sign a bathroom bill into law, others fear what public backlash the state will face.
The Court of Public Opinion.
Top firms, chambers of commerce and lobbyists also have decried the bathroom bill in all forms as bad for business. Several Hollywood actors and music stars have suggested state boycotts. Both the NFL and NBA have expressed concerns about it passing. North Carolina faced similar (and economically straining) boycotts from the entertainment industry when it passed a “bathroom bill”.
Supporters are hoping that by limiting the scope to schools it could soften the kinds of costly boycotts that hit North Carolina.
House Speaker Joe Straus said in a statement that the House amendment “will allow us to avoid the severely negative impact” of the original Senate bill, which was closer to what North Carolina’s original looked like. However, the Speaker seems to understand well the precarious position his state now faces.
Opponents have vowed to fight the amendment with lawsuits.