The last few days have been pretty traumatizing, so I’m glad I finally be the bearer of some GOOD news for a change.
A Texas bill that would limit transgender people’s access to bathrooms in schools and public buildings died on yesterday, as the House adjourned and ended its special legislative session. The measures were blocked by moderate House Republicans after business leaders and civil rights groups successfully argued that it would advance bigotry, tarnish the state’s image, and damage its economy.
“Finally, Texans can breathe a temporary sigh of relief,” said JoDee Winterhof, an official of the Human Rights Campaign that lobbied against the bills.
“Texans don’t want harmful, anti-transgender legislation,” Winterhof, the campaign’s senior vice president for policy and political affairs, said in a statement.
This is definitely good news. If the most Republican state in the union had adopted the bill, it would have fed momentum in other socially conservative states on the issue. So we nipped it in the bud. For now.
However… The Dallas Evening Star writes:
Lt Gov Dan Patrick promised the legislation would be brought back in 2019.
“The people will demand it,” he said. “The issue’s not going away.”
Carrollton Republican Ron Simmons, the House author of the legislation, agreed the bathroom bill will continue to be a source of debate in Texas until a statewide policy is set.
“The legislation might be dead but the issue is still very much alive until it is solved at the state or federal level,” Simmons said. “A patchwork of local ordinances or policies is never best for all Texans.”
He acknowledged the courts are expected to get involved as well, as some Texas cities and school districts fight to keep in place anti-discrimination rules that allow them to accommodate the needs of trans men, women and children.
Meanwhile, LGBT activists across the nation celebrated tentatively. While their fight is far from over, they said they were glad Texas has not yet become the second state, after North Carolina, to pass a bathroom bill.
Lou Weaver, transgender programs coordinator for the LGBT right group Equality Texas, said he was “cautious about any possible next steps by our elected officials” but “thankful for all the trans folks and parents of trans youth who kept pushing back.”
The Human Rights Campaign, a national LGBT advocacy organization, said it would remain vigilant.
“Rest assured, the same eyes that watched Texas lawmakers this year will continue to keep a strong, watchful eye,” said HRC senior vice president JoDee Winterhof. “If the legislature attempts to attack our communities again, all of us will come out with the same level of force and strength.”