Texas to pass bill banning transgender students from choosing bathrooms
- Author: Larry Hoffman May 25, 2017,
May 25, 2017, 20:32
The amendment says that schools must provide single-occupancy bathrooms for "a student who does not wish to use the facilities designated for use or commonly used by persons of the student's biological sex".
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Texas Republicans have been pushing an aggressive agenda despite promised court challenges, including legislation that would let police ask drivers whether they're in the USA legally, restrict what school bathrooms transgender students can use, ban most second-trimester abortions and let adoption agencies reject gay couples over religious objections.
"Fresh off its passage of the most anti-immigrant legislation in the nation, the Texas legislature this weekend turned its attention to targeting women and children", said Terri Burke, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, in a press release.
The House also voted to pass a bill that would allow publicly funded adoption agencies to turn away qualified potential parents because they are LGBT, unmarried partners or religious minorities.
The legislation "really boxes in school systems", said Raffi Freedman-Gurspan, a spokeswoman for the national transgender rights organization Trans Equality.
For his part, Henson said, the fight over bathroom legislation may be more of a question of business groups' public priorities versus the issues they're willing to throw their full weight behind. When President Obama and the U.S. Department of Education attempted to overreach with a directive that schools implement requirements that would have allowed exactly that, Texas led a lawsuit challenging that directive, and a federal judge in the Lone Star State ordered it suspended.
Marty Rouse, national field director for the Human Rights Campaign, said in a statement the measure "is a unsafe, discriminatory bill" that represents anti-LGBT animus "coloring so much of the Texas Legislature this session". It also would require the state's attorney general to defend school districts that face legal challenges.
In a flurry of activity before the state's legislative session wraps May 29, Texas lawmakers are pushing through controversial bills that affect children and touch on hot-button issues of sexuality and religion. Larry Taylor, a Friendswood Republican.
"This bill doesn't prohibit particular groups from adopting", said Republican bill sponsor Sen.
Advocates for transgender children and their parents were distraught as they watched the state House vote for the amendment.
"There is absolutely there is no intent - and I would argue, nothing in this language - discriminates against anyone", Paddie said on the floor of the House Sunday evening. The Senate does not put up a formal schedule of the bills it will consider, so that could take place any time this week.