By Nick Morrow
March 15, 2017
Today, HRC blasted the Texas Senate for advancing SB 6 — dishonestly titled the “Privacy Protection Act” — a bill expressly intended to discriminate against and block facility access for transgender Texans. The full Senate voted to advance the legislation by a vote of 21-10. The bill would overturn non-discrimination ordinances currently providing critical protections in several major Texas cities; further, it would force state agencies, municipalities, public schools and public universities to discriminate against transgender people. SB 6 will now move to the Texas House of Representatives.
Since its introduction, the anti-LGBTQ bill has been condemned by hundreds of businesses and several Texas chambers of commerce, celebrities and performers, tourism groups and events and sports organizations including the NBA, the NFL and the NCAA, which yesterday reaffirmed its commitment to “maintaining a college sports experience that is inclusive and fair for all individuals, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.”
“After hearing an outpouring of opposition to this bill during nearly 20 hours of citizen testimony last week, it’s outrageous that the Texas Senate would advance SB 6 to the House,” said JoDee Winterhof, Senior Vice President of Policy and Political Affairs of the Human Rights Campaign. “This measure is another product of Dan Patrick’s anti-LGBTQ agenda, and it’s troubling that lawmakers in the Senate cannot see it for what it truly is: an attack on their transgender neighbors, coworkers and friends who deserve the same dignity and rights as anyone else. We hope the House members recognize this and stop SB 6 in its tracks.”
SB 6 is a discriminatory, anti-transgender bill, and one of the many egregious anti-LGBTQ bills introduced in Texas this legislative session. By making it illegal for transgender people in Texas to be afforded access to facilities consistent with their identity, it opens them up to increased discrimination and harassment as they simply live their everyday lives. It also exposes Texas to tremendous risk of the kind of financial, legal, and political blowback that North Carolina has continued to reckon with after the passage of HB2.
Dan Patrick has made a career out of his anti-LGBTQ animus, including opposing marriage equality in Texas, advocating to strip Texas cities of equal rights ordinances and supporting anti-LGBTQ reality star Phil Robertson.
HRC has five field organizers in four offices across Texas who work to mobilize opposition to any anti-LGBTQ legislation. HRC continues to work alongside Equality Texas, ACLU of Texas, Texas Freedom Network, the Transgender Education Network of Texas and others on the ground to battle against dangerous or harmful bills that attack the dignity of LGBTQ Texans. As a coalition, we will stand together; we will support and comfort one another; and we will continue to work together until we defeat every bill this session that discriminates against LGBTQ Texans.