“Après Obama, le déluge.”
Lawmakers in Texas, Kentucky, and a handful of other states have filed bills in recent weeks that would ban transgender people from certain restrooms that match their gender identity, building on a trend of legislation the past few years that claims to protect women and girls.
And once again, the bills have raised hackles among LGBT advocates who are willing to sue the states that pass such laws, alleging violations of constitutional and civil rights.
The most prominent of the measures was announced in Texas on Thursday by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (photo, above), who said a new bill would promote “common sense, common decency, and public safety.”
Senate Bill 6, which will be sponsored by Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, would ban transgender people from single-sex restrooms in government buildings. It would apply in facilities run by the state and its subdivisions by restricting restrooms to those with with a corresponding sex marker on their birth certificate.
Next, Kolkhorst said at a press conference with Patrick, it would prohibit transgender students from using facilities that match their gender in public schools. Local boards that fail to comply would face a civil penalty, she said.
Further, local jurisdictions would be blocked from enacting or enforcing their own nondiscrimination rules that let people use public facilities in accordance with their gender identity.
Kentucky has also climbed aboard the Bathroom Bill bandwagon. Republicans there control roughly two-thirds majorities in both legislative chambers – yet was Democratic Rep. Rick Nelson who filed a bill that attempts to ban transgender people from bathrooms matching their gender in government facilities and public schools. Kentucky’s Republican governor, however, recently said legislation on the topic is unnecessary. (Odd turn of events)
Bills in Virginia and Washington State are particular long shots, given that both states have Democratic governors who could strike the measures with a veto.
Virginia’s House Bill 1612 would ban transgender people from government bathrooms that match their gender and require school principals to inform parents if a student asks to be identified by a different gender than their birth sex.
The bill in Washington State would allow facilities to ignore a state nondiscrimination law by banning transgender people from restrooms that correspond with their gender.
The American Civil Liberties Union said Thursday it would consider suing any state that passed a law to ban people transgender from restrooms, saying it would violate the Constitution and civil rights laws.
“If a proposed bill should become law then we will consider every option, including litigation, to protect the trans individuals who will be harmed,” ACLU staff attorney Chase Strangio told BuzzFeed News.