Texas set to pass transgender bathroom law for schools
- Author: Zachary Reyes May 22, 2017,
May 22, 2017, 21:45
A broader proposal mandating that transgender Texas residents use public restrooms according to their birth certificate gender sailed through the state Senate. A similar measure had stalled in the House, but supporters late Sunday night used an amendment to tack school bathroom limits onto a separate and otherwise unrelated bill covering campus emergency operation plans.
"There is absolutely no intent, and I would argue nothing in this language discriminates against anybody. This is not about a class of children or transgender children", Paddie said, adding that the language prevents a school from disclosing intimate details about a student.
"This is about accommodating all kids", he said.
Gov. Greg Abbott, who was largely silent on the issue throughout the legislative session, recently endorsed the bathroom legislation as a priority, but his office has insisted that he believes the legislation could be passed during the regular legislative session.
"This amendment is the bathroom bill and the bathroom bill is an attack on transgender people", said Rep. Joe Moody, an El Paso Democrat.
Just before the bill was debated, a group of Democratic women representatives visited the men's restroom as an act of protest, The Washington Post reports. "Bathrooms divided us then and it divides us now".
"I want to talk to you a little bit about history because I've lived through the separate but equal period", Rep. Senfronia Thompson, D-Houston, told the floor in a passionate speech against the amendment.
Texas' Republican-controlled Senate approved a bill early Monday that allows publicly funded foster care and adoption agencies to refuse to place children with non-Christian, unmarried or gay prospective parents because of religious objections. But the lower chamber excluded the Senate's key provisions requiring voter approval of some tax rates - something Patrick wanted included.
About 25 percent of the agencies that are paid by Texas to place children with families are private foster care and adoption organizations.
Sen. Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood, changed the bill to include a provision the House hates and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick very much wants: education savings accounts, which are state subsidies for parents who want to send their children with disabilities to private schools or need money for services to educate them at home.
Both proposals drew support from religious leaders and social conservatives, but they immediately led to outcries from civil rights groups and local officials concerned about discrimination toward transgender Texans.