Bills are all but dead, but transgender bathroom fight lives on


Highlights

Opponents of bills to limit transgender-friendly bathrooms deliver 50,124 petition names to Capitol.

Supporters respond by promising that the fight will continue, including in the 2018 GOP primaries.

Bills to limit transgender-friendly bathrooms are on the brink of death, if not dead already, but that didn’t stop opposing sides from traveling to the Capitol on Monday to take a final stab at the special legislative session’s most contentious issue.

Opponents of the bills began the day by delivering petitions to Gov. Greg Abbott and Republican leaders that represent 50,124 Texans who have shown opposition to legislation that would require Texans to use restrooms and changing rooms that correspond with the sex listed on their birth certificate or other government document.

“We’re here to say Texans across the state won’t rest until the final gavel — and beyond that, we won’t rest until our leaders recognize that discrimination is reprehensible,” said Kathy Miller, president of the Texas Freedom Network.

Miller accused supporters of “telling lies to justify passing laws that discriminate against people simply because of who they are.”

“This legislation has never been about protecting women in public restrooms. That’s why organizations that advocate for victims of sexual assault have strongly opposed it,” she said.

READ: No sweat if Gov. Abbott falls shy of special session Shangri-La. The base is chill with Shangri-Lite.

Stephanie Martinez, who was recently assaulted in Austin for her transgender status, said bills targeting bathroom use fuel a “mob mentality” against transgender people.

“It doesn’t solve any problems. It will simply add to the danger the transgender community experiences on a daily basis,” Martinez said.

Supporters of bills to ban transgender-friendly bathrooms and changing rooms met outside the House chamber at noon to say their fight is not yet over.

Rep. Ron Simmons, R-Carrollton and author of a bill to prohibit transgender-friendly policies by schools and local governments, said he is looking for a way to revive his bill as an amendment before the special session ends Wednesday.

Although Simmons said he knew of no bills capable of taking such an amendment, “you never know what’s going to be breaking over the last couple of days that could give it a chance.”

“We’re going to fight to the end for amendment potential. I know the Senate’s doing the same thing,” he said. “This issue’s not going to go away just because we don’t handle it in the special session. This is going to continue to be an issue for the people of Texas. If we don’t deal with it now, we’re going to have to do it later.”

Jonathan Saenz, head of Texas Values, and Dave Welch, president of the Texas Pastor Council, said they will press Gov. Greg Abbott to call a second special session to tackle the issue.

“We insist and we expect those that we send to Austin to do what is right … not to kowtow and bow the knee to corporate threats who are demanding that if we don’t yield the safety and privacy and freedom of our women and children that somehow we will be punished by either refusing to come to Texas or leaving Texas,” Welch said.

Saenz blamed the downfall of Simmons’ bill, and a similar measure from the Senate, on two Republicans — House Speaker Joe Straus and State Affairs Committee Chairman Byron Cook, who opposed the measure as unnecessary and harmful to the economy.

Predicting that the issue will continue to resonate, Saenz said a survey by his organization indicated that GOP primary voters are ready to vote against those who oppose bathroom limits.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Texas News & Politics

Accused Santa Fe shooter won't get death penalty -- and could get paroled someday 
Accused Santa Fe shooter won't get death penalty -- and could get paroled someday 

Even though Dimitrios Pagourtzis was charged as an adult in the mass shooting at a southeastern Texas high school Friday, he will not face the death penalty and could even be eligible for parole someday, the Houston Chronicle reported. Pagourtzis, 17, a high school junior, admitted to the shootings that killed 10 and wounded 13, according to court...
Trump demands Justice Department probe claims of spying on his 2016 campaign
Trump demands Justice Department probe claims of spying on his 2016 campaign

In a tweet Sunday afternoon, President Donald Trump said he will demand that the Justice Department investigate whether it or the FBI spied on his 2016 presidential campaign for political reasons, CNN reported. "I hereby demand, and will do so officially tomorrow, that the Department of Justice look into whether or not the FBI/DOJ infiltrated...
LSU football legend, Heisman Trophy winner Billy Cannon dead at 80
LSU football legend, Heisman Trophy winner Billy Cannon dead at 80

Billy Cannon, the 1959 Heisman Trophy winner who led Louisiana State University to a national title in 1958, died Sunday, The Advocate of Baton Rouge reported. He was 80. Cannon, a running back, is the only player in LSU football history to win the Heisman. His famous “Halloween run” -- an 89-yard punt return in the fourth quarter...
South Carolina authorities searching for 3 escaped inmates
South Carolina authorities searching for 3 escaped inmates

South Carolina authorities are searching for three inmates -- two of whom are charged with murder -- who escaped from a jail, WRDW reported. The Orangeburg County Sheriff's Office said in a Facebook post that the trio escaped from the county detention center Saturday night and that all are considered dangerous. The three inmates were identified...
Police: 13-year-old in custody after 2 children shot in Central Florida city
Police: 13-year-old in custody after 2 children shot in Central Florida city

Two children were hospitalized after being shot in a Central Florida city Saturday evening and a 13-year-old boy was in custody, police said.  The incident occurred shortly before 6 p.m. in the Brevard County city of Palm Bay. Two juvenile victims, who police did not identify, were taken to nearby hospitals in serious but stable condition, police...
More Stories