Texas Senate OKs Gay Adoption Bill
It would mandate transgender students either need to use the bathroom corresponding to their biological sex, or use a single stall bathroom.
State lawmakers are set to adjourn May 29, but they have yet to resolve issues that have driven a wedge between the two chambers. Bathrooms divided us then, and it divides us now. “Separate but equal is not equal at all”, said Houston Democratic Representative Senfronia Thompson on Sunday, comparing the bathroom bill to 20th-century racial bathroom restrictions.
“It is absolutely about child safety”, Republican state Representative Chris Paddie, who managed the bill, said in House debate on Sunday.
Critics questioned how the state expects schools to fund renovations for new or added facilities to accommodate transgender students.
Democrats, civil rights groups and gay rights groups were outraged, saying the ban singles out transgender students, an already vulnerable population, for additional bullying, ridicule and discrimination.
The proposal needs final approval from the House before moving forward to the Senate and potentially Governor Greg Abbott’s desk, who is expected to sign it.
GOODWYN: Representative Rafael Anchia, also from Dallas, is among the many House Democrats who fought tooth and nail until about midnight to stop the bathroom bill. “The Texas lawmakers of the 85th legislative session are on the wrong side of history”.
Earlier in the session Abbott had insisted the legislature pass bathroom legislation.
While Senate Bill 6 passed without issue in the Texas Senate, it failed in the House.
The measure is narrower in scope than a bathroom bill passed along mostly party lines by the state Senate in March that extended to state universities and public buildings. Proponents of the legislation object to transgender people using bathrooms that correspond to their gender identity, often citing concerns over the privacy of women and girls.
The version the Senate approved after midnight increases classroom funding by only about $500 million, scraps the $210 per-student increase and adds a plan offering taxpayer funds that would go into education savings accounts that some special education students could use to attend private schools.
“The idea that it is less offensive, all those things are relative”, said Cathryn Oakley, senior legislative counsel at the Human Rights Campaign. “I can tell you that separate restrooms for trans kids are also based on fear and not fact”. “I think the handwriting is on the bathroom wall: Stay out of the ladies’ room if you’re a man”, Patrick said in late April, voicing his support for “biological sex” bathrooms.
Conservative politicians in Texas have agitated strongly for the measure despite the backlash against such a law in North Carolina, which involved economic boycotts and attempts to repeal it after it was introduced past year.
Kasey Suffredini, acting CEO for Freedom for All Americans, said in a statement the advancements of the anti-LGBT measures demonstrate poor judgement in Texas and called on Abbott to veto the legislation.