February 2017 Church & State - February 2017

Texas ‘Bathroom Bill’ Is Similar To North Carolina’s

  AU admin

Despite North Carolina’s suffering major economic consequences for enacting an anti-transgender “bathroom bill,” officials in Texas want to go down a similar route. In a newly-filed bill, state officials seek to ban transgender people from using public bathrooms that align with their gender identity.

State Sen. Lois Kolkhorst (R) filed the bill, officially named the Texas Privacy Act, on Jan. 5. It would require people to use public bathrooms that align with their sex at birth, which would target the transgender community. The law would not be applicable to private businesses.

If the state legislature approves the bill, local governments around the state would not be able to pass LGBTQ protection ordinances, and taxpayer-funded schools or agencies would face hefty fines if they ignore or violate the restrictions.

Dallas, San Antonio and Austin have protections in place for the LGBTQ community; the bill’s opponents point out that the proposed legislation would nullify these measures.

“This bill preempts local authority,” Terri Burke, the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, told The Los Angeles Times. “It’s an attack on the transgender community.”

Advocates of the bill, including Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R), argue that it will promote public safety. But opponents say it’s really about fear-mongering.

“These bills are unnecessary,” Cathryn Oakley, senior legislative counsel for the Human Rights Campaign, said. “They are not addressing any problem. They are based simply on fear.”

If Texas follows in North Carolina’s footsteps and becomes the second state to pass such a law, it could face similar economic fallout due to boycotts.

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