TEXAS: State Senate Passes Anti-Transgender Hate Bill, Passage Uncertain In GOP-Dominated State House

The Houston Chronicle reports:

The state Senate on Wednesday gave final approval to the so-called “bathroom bill,” sending a message that the upper chamber of one of the nation’s largest states supports redefining which public bathrooms can be used by trangender persons.

The measure passed on final reading by a vote of 21-10. That’s the same margin by which the Republican-controlled Senate approved the bill a day earlier. Both votes fell largely along party lines. Senate Bill 6 is a priority of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, a Houston Republican who argues that the measure is important for the safety and privacy of women in the bathroom.

“The people of Texas elected us to stand by our principles and uphold conservative values,” Patrick said in a statement. “The Texas Privacy Act reflects common decency and common sense and is essential to protect public safety.”

The bill now moves to the Texas House where the GOP holds a 95-55 majority. However GOP House Speaker Joe Strauss is reportedly “not a fan” of the bill and he has said he’d rather “focus on other things.” Expect massive pressure on Strauss from hate groups.

Lambda Legal reacts via press release:

“SB6 is a non-solution to a non-problem that hurts students and promises to blow up the Texas economy. You would think that the Texas Legislature would take note of what happened in North Carolina, of what happened in Indiana and Arizona, of the intense blowback that has happened repeatedly when misguided state legislators have set out to write discrimination into law. Texas state representatives should review North Carolina’s recent history before compounding the Senate’s error.

“SB6 is wrong, it is unconstitutional, and it’s bad for business. Most importantly, SB6 cruelly targets already vulnerable transgender students for harassment and exclusion and creates problems where none existed. We urge the Texas House of Representatives to reject this hurtful, mean-spirited bill.

“Dozens of businesses, business associations, tourism boards, entertainers, sports leagues – including the NBA and the NFL, law enforcement leaders, and others are calling on Texas legislators not to pass SB6, noting its inevitably devastating impacts on the Texas economy. They have paid attention, they have seen what HB2 did in North Carolina. And they know passing this discriminatory and harmful bill would cause the same damage in Texas.”