Dan Patrick’s Discriminatory SB 6 Met with Surge of Business Opposition

January 6, 2017 • 2:25 pm
Weary of damaging the Lone Star State’s economy, business leaders and advocates quickly condemn Dan Patrick’s anti-transgender proposal
WASHINGTON – Businesses from across Texas and the nation wasted no time in denouncing Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick’s discriminatory SB 6. The Keep Texas Open for Business coalition immediately condemned Patrick’s proposal and pointed out that it would cost Texas about $8.5 billion and nearly 200,000 jobs should it become law. Other corporations and organizations including Dow Chemical, SXSW, VisitDallas, the Texas branch of the American Federation of Teachers, and the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault all announced their opposition within just hours of yesterday’s bill filing.

“Texas’ leading businesses are sending a clear message that they don’t want to take up SB 6 for a multitude of reasons,” said Matt McTighe, Freedom for All Americans’ executive director. “We’ve seen what happened in North Carolina when lawmakers there continually ignored the warnings from the business community – hundreds of millions of dollars and countless jobs left the state. The leaders who pump money and jobs into Texas are sounding the alarm over this discriminatory proposal and its ramifications on Texas’ brand. Dan Patrick should focus on how to continue growing Texas’ economy, not actively work to sabotage it.”

SB 6 mirrors North Carolina’s HB 2 in banning transgender people from restrooms in public schools, universities, and government offices; and eradicates the freedom of local municipalities to set their own nondiscrimination protections for transgender people in places with public restrooms, or to consider such protections when awarding government contractors. SB 6 even goes further than HB 2 – the measure includes a reporting provision which would allow individuals to patrol restrooms and report back to the state potential violations.

The Texas Association of Business (TAB) – which last month released an economic impact survey warning that bills like SB 6 could cost Texas $8.5 billion in lost revenue – immediately opposed Patrick’s measure. TAB has convened the Keep Texas Open for Business coalition, which includes major organizations and entities like Dow Chemical, Apple, IBM, SXSW, Intel, VisitDallas, Celanese, GSD&M, and HP. In a statement yesterday, Keep Texas Open for Business called SB 6 “discriminatory, anti-business, and unnecessary legislation that is poised to have an immediate and detrimental impact on Texas’ economy.”

Other organizations speaking out against SB 6 in the hours following its filing include:

  • Dow Chemical, which tweeted: “Equality is a fundamental right of all, and in all locations in our communities. Dow opposes #SB6 in Texas. #txlege#keeptxopen
  • SXSW, which is slated to take place in Austin in just two months: “SXSW vehemently opposes all discriminatory legislation. This type of law in Texas will be divisive and counter-productive like similar bills elsewhere. Moreover, as an organization, SXSW unequivocally supports civil rights for all persons everywhere. Government should not deny its citizens freedoms based on ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, religious beliefs, or place of birth.”
  • The Texas Association Against Sexual Assault noted that forcing transgender people into facilities inconsistent with their gender identity endangers their safety. The organization went on: “We strongly encourage lawmakers concerned about public safety to concentrate time and resources on evidence-based supports for survivors, especially those among our most vulnerable populations.”
  • The Texas branch of the American Federation of Teachers quickly weighed in against the bill: “This bill isn’t about providing safety or privacy. It’s an attempt to foment divisiveness, stigmatize vulnerable students and distract us from what really needs our attention — more resources for our schools and educators.”
  • VisitDallas said after the bill’s introduction that it “does not support this effort and will work to stop any effort that discriminates or has an adverse effect on growing the tourism economy, and we urge our state leaders to do the same. Dallas is open for business to everyone.”

Freedom for All Americans is working with our partners at Keep Texas Open for Business and Texas Competes to stop discriminatory bills from advancing in the Lone Star State. More than 1,100 businesses big and small have signed the Texas Competes pledge so far, affirming their support for a Texas that remains economically competitive and vibrant.

Freedom for All Americans is tracking the legislation proposed in states across the country that relate to discrimination. For a look at other legislation pending in Texas and across the country, visit our website.

Freedom for All Americans is the bipartisan campaign to secure full nondiscrimination protections for LGBT people nationwide. Our work brings together Republicans and Democrats, businesses large and small, people of faith, and allies from all walks of life to make the case for comprehensive nondiscrimination protections that ensure everyone is treated fairly and equally.

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