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State laws attacking transgender persons:

2017-APR: Texas: Proposed
"Bathroom Bill" SB 6, passes the
Senate but is stalled in the House.

Part 2

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This topic is continued here from the previous essay.

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Difficulties harmonizing the beliefs of religious conservatives and the LGBT community concerning gender identity:

Gary Pine is the athletic director at Azusa Pacific University. He discusses attempts to finding common ground between religious beliefs and gender identities:

  1

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2017-MAR: Texas bill SB 6 passes the Senate:

On 2017-MAR-08, The Senate's State Affairs Committee voted 8 -1 to pass the bill for consideration by the full Senate. 2 The content of the bill was largely unchanged from the its original wording. Everyone using multi-stall bathrooms and locker rooms in public schools, public universities, and other government buildings would be required to use the facilities that match their biological gender. It would also automatically repeal all local laws that allow transgender persons to use the bathroom that matches their gender identity.

During the hearing, about 30 members of the public had testified in favor of the legislation, while more than 200 people testified against it.

Many dozens of readers of the MAR-08 article in the Texas Tribune weighed in with their comments. The first half dozen were firmly opposed to the bill:

  • Amanda Turner posted: "They didn't listen to a thing, their decision was already made."

  • Tavis Malmstrom posted: "sickening. Legislating bigotry against trans kids is an uneducated, knee jerk reaction to something these paranoid adults do not understand. A solution to a non-existent problem...this is not making America great...it is reversing years of social progress.

  • Deborah Cardenas: "How absolutely stupid and a waste of valuable time that could have been spent tackling real issues."

  • Debra Robinson: "Solving non-existent problems."

  • Glee Grignon: "Hello Texas. Have you learned anything yet??? Will you finally get out and vote???? Are you sick of YOUR money paying for endless meetings/debates on issues that don't matter -- or worse are detrimental to our State, our economy and our reputation??? So how is this protecting us again??? Texas government has ventured down a road best left untraveled ... I'm embarrassed to say I live in this state."

  • Lorna McNamara: "Transgender folks have been using the restroom of choice for years. There is no reason to create a problem where none exists. #HatefulLegislation" 2

The first comment that was in favor of the bill was by Sora Sun Yo who posted:

  • "Nothing against anyone just a better & safer move for all. I am very proud of my state." 2

An organization "Keep Texas Open For Business" posted a message on their web site:

"Right now Texas lawmakers have put several discriminatory, anti-business bills at the top of their agenda for the 2017 legislative session. This is despite clear evidence these bills will have dire consequences for Texas’ economy and business community.

In fact, some lawmakers have said that passing legislation similar to North Carolina’s disastrous HB 2 is a top priority in 2017, despite the fact that it has cost North Carolina more than $600 million in revenue. The Texas Association of Business has already estimated that a similar bill will cost Texas $8.5 billion in lost revenue and 185,000 jobs.

Texas lawmakers need to know that our communities -- especially small businesses -- simply can’t afford these losses. They need to know our economy is stronger when Texas is open for business to everyone.

Help us stop this attack on Texas’ businesses. Rush a message to your lawmakers letting them know that business leaders want them to reject harmful anti-business bills in 2017." 3

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Public support and opposition to SB 6:

Back in 2015-NOV, Houston voters had the opportunity to approve or oppose a city ordinance that would allow transgender persons to use washrooms that corresponded with their gender identity. The public opposed the ordinance by a 61% to 39% margin. 4

During 2016-OCT, a UT/TT (University of Texas/Texas Tribune) poll found that a slight majority of Texas adults -- 51% --believe that transgender people should use public restrooms based on their birth-identified gender; 31% said that they should use restrooms that correspond to their gender identity; 18% had no opinion or didn't respond.

Among self-identified Republicans, 76% said that people should use restrooms that match their birth gender. This compares with 14% who favored use according to their gender identity.

Among self-identified Democrats, 50% favored usage according to gender identity. 5

Jim Henson, co-director of the poll and head of the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas at Austin, said:

"Republican leaders who are hitting this issue hard are doing things that are resonating with their base and their party. ... [Given the polling results] it’s not surprising that elements of the Republican leadership have staked this out and are sticking to it." 5

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2017-MAR-14: SB 6 is overwhelmingly approved by the Texas Senate:

Bill SB 6, was introduced by Senator Lois Kolkhorst (R) on MAR-14. It was was debated and approved by a vote of 21 to 10. Senator Eddie Lucio, Jr. (D) joined with all 20 Republican Senators to pass the bill.

Texas Values is a conservative Judeo-Christian non-profit group. It is associated with CitizenLink, a public-policy partner of Focus on the Family, and is recognized by the Family Research Council. Its president, Jonathan Saenz, said:

"We’re thankful for the leadership of Senate author Lois Kolkhorst, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, and the strong majority of the Texas Senate for standing up to protect privacy, dignity, and safety in our public school locker rooms and restrooms. We call on the members of the Texas House to now consider the merits of the Texas Privacy Act, which respects private business while making it clear that boys do not belong in the girls’ room in our public schools." 6

Although he did not state his reasoning in his comment, he clearly defines a person's gender by their birth-identified gender and not by their current gender identity. Or, to put it in physical terms, by the design of their genitals and not by the functioning of their internal brain structures. For the vast majority of persons, the the two methods of measuring gender are equivalent. They are called "cisgender" and constitution about 99.4% of the population. For transgender persons, at abour 0.6% of the population, they are generally opposite genders.

Concerned Women of America of Texas, Southern Baptists of Texas Convention, Texas Eagle Forum, Northeast Tarrant Tea Party, Stand for Fort Worth, the Texas Pastor Council, and other groups have offered their support for the bill. 6

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2017-APR: SB 6 appears to be stalled in the Texas House:

After SB 6 was passed with overwhelming support in the Texas Senate, it seems to have lost momentum in the House. Four weeks have passed since its arrival, and the bill has not yet been referred to a House committee.

On APR-12, Texas Values staged a demonstration outside the House Chamber in an attempt to encourage House leaders to take action on the bill.

Nikki Kelton, a mother of three students in Dripping Springs, TX was at the demonstration. She said:

"When we go against common sense and the fundamentals of what we know to be true, we are jeopardizing the very identities and the faith principles of our children."

She objects to a policy of her local school board that has allowed a transgender student in third grade who was identified as a boy at birth and who now has a female gender identity to use the girls' bathroom. Kelton said that this policy is:

"... in direct conflict with the word of God and the biblical principles on which our nation was founded."

Rob Satterfield and his daughter, Shiloh 10, also of Dripping Springs, spoke at the news conference. He urging the Texas House to:

"... take a stand to protect the privacy and dignity of our young men and women" by passing SB 6."

Chuck Smith is a member of Equality Texas. He attended the news conference and said later that the intent of SB 6 is to discriminate against transgender people, not protect privacy. He said:

"If we’re really concerned about safety, then legislation should focus on assaults. Transgender people are not a problem. There are other laws on the books that deal with violations that might occur, and transgender people are not the ones who are committing assaults."

House Speaker Joe Straus, (R) has described the bill as unnecessary. If passed, he believes that it would trigger economic boycotts against Texas. 6

The current legislative session ends in late MAY, so time is of the essence if the bill is to become law soon.

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Scott Gleeson "Texas bathroom bill on the radar of the NCAA, Big 12," USA Today, 2017-JAN-05, at: http://www.usatoday.com/
  2. Alex Ura, "Committee sends Texas "bathroom bill" to full Senate," Texas Tribune, 2017-MAR-08, at: https://www.texastribune.org/
  3. "Tell Texas Lawmakers to Reject Discriminatory, Anti-Business Legislation," Keep Texas Open For Business, undated, at: https://secure.keeptxopen.org/
  4. David Walls, "Houston Victory Shows Common Sense Texas values can Win," Texas Values, 2015-NOV, at: http://txvalues.org/
  5. Ross Ramsey, "UT/TT Poll: Bathrooms, the Constitution and other hot Texas issues," The Texas Tribune, 2016-OCT-31, at: https://www.texastribune.org/
  6. Chuck Lindell, "Conservatives press Texas House on transgender bathroom bill," Austin American-Statesman, 2016-APR-12 at: http://www.mystatesman.com/

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Copyright © 2017 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Original posting: 2017-APR-16
Latest update : 2017-MAY-03
Author: B.A. Robinson

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