New Anti-LGBT Legislation in Texas Would Roll Back Existing Protections for Transgender PeopleBy Adam Polaski • April 14, 2017 • 12:15 pm
Lawmakers in the Texas House of Representatives have introduced an insidious local preemptions bill that seeks to roll back existing legal protections for transgender people living in certain parts of the Lone Star State. HB 2899, introduced by Representative Ron Simmons (R-Carrollton), would make it illegal for municipalities to pass nondiscrimination measures protecting the safety of transgender people in restrooms, and the measure would roll back existing protections in at least five Texas cities. The legislation is set for a hearing in the House State Affairs Committee next Wednesday.
Currently, municipalities including Austin, Dallas, El Paso, Fort Worth, and San Antonio have protections that extend to transgender people in restrooms. Those protections would be voided under HB 2899, representing a remarkable rollback of legal protections for transgender people and exposing them to harm and discrimination in public places.
Matt McTighe, Freedom for All Americans Executive Director, said today:
“No one should be fooled by HB 2899 – this is dangerous legislation that is just as discriminatory and economically perilous as SB 6. Legal protections from discrimination are put in place for a reason, and rolling those protections back should never be on the table. Like SB 6, this legislation is a solution in search of a problem that just doesn’t exist. There are no winners under HB 2899 – it will create dangerous situations for transgender people, and like SB 6 it will tarnish Texas’ reputation and economy.”
HB 2899 would:
- Nullify existing protections from discrimination in Texas restrooms and changing facilities,
- Forbid any Texas cities, counties, or school districts from enacting similar nondiscrimination protections moving forward,
- Complicate the enforceability of local nondiscrimination ordinances more broadly, should courts rule that such measures are non-severable, and
- Create an unprecedented and explicit level of codified discrimination by explicitly prohibiting the enforcement of or creation of measures to “protect a class of persons from discrimination.”
Texas is considering an array of other anti-LGBT bills this year. In addition to SB 6 and HB 2899, lawmakers are considering legislation that would allow adoption agencies to discriminate against same-sex couples and LGBT people, as well as a bill that allows state employees to opt out of issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.