Breaking: Texas Senate Could Reject Anti-Transgender Amendment — Because It’s Not Discriminatory Enough

May 23, 2017 • 10:30 pm

WASHINGTON – Reports are emerging tonight from the Texas Capitol that the Senate could reject SB 2078 tomorrow – education legislation that this weekend was amended in the House to include a provision singling out transgender youth in the state’s public schools for discrimination. House lawmakers amended the legislation in a bid to satiate Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick’s session-long drive to pass SB 6, a bill that would ban transgender people from using restrooms in public schools, universities, and government facilities. But yesterday, Patrick indicated the amendment wasn’t discriminatory enough.

SB 6 stalled out in the House following widespread opposition from the business community and others worried about the economic ramifications discriminatory legislation would have on Texas. House lawmakers added the amendment to SB 2078 after Patrick last week threatened to derail the state’s entire legislative agenda unless his discriminatory proposal moved forward.

“Dan Patrick has proven, time and again, that he doesn’t care about policies that improve the lives of all Texans, or policies that strengthen the state’s economy, or unite all Texans together and steer them toward a stronger future. Dan Patrick cares first and foremost about discriminating against LGBT people – particularly transgender people,” said Kasey Suffredini, Freedom for All Americans’ Acting CEO & President of Strategy. “Texas’ largest law enforcement organizations came forward months ago to say that SB 6 was a solution in search of a problem. Leading businesses from across the state and the nation have warned that discriminatory bills like SB 6 would be catastrophic for Texas’ economy. There is no rational explanation for why Patrick continues his dogged pursuit of discrimination at this point.”

There’s a reason businesses are so concerned about Patrick’s discriminatory agenda: North Carolina’s HB 2 law, which SB 6 is nearly identical to, sparked a nationwide backlash and cost the Tar Heel State nearly one billion dollars in lost revenue and investment. And a new report out just today found that the media attention surrounding Patrick’s slate of discriminatory bills already has generated more than $215 million worth of media coverage this year – the vast majority of which ranked as negative or unwanted coverage.

Patrick’s determination to pass anti-transgender legislation styled after North Carolina’s disastrous HB 2 law isn’t the only threat to the legal equality and dignity of LGBT people in the Lone Star State. Earlier this week, lawmakers sent HB 3859 to Governor Greg Abbott’s desk. That bill allows taxpayer-funded adoption agencies and foster services to legally discriminate against LGBT people and others. It also allows parents or guardians to cite religious beliefs in denying children needed care or services, or in exposing them to dangerous situations such as the widely rejected practice of conversion therapy.

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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