Texas set to pass transgender bathroom law for schools

Thwarting Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick's threat to force a special session over the bathroom bill, the Texas House voted Sunday night to pass bathroom restrictions for transgender students in all public schools. The modified bill passed 91-50.

However, LGBT advocates, some of whom watched the debate from the House gallery, said the amendment will further alienate transgender students from their peers.

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.

"It is unconscionable that a bill would prioritize discrimination over the best interest of kids in the child welfare system, but Texas lawmakers have done just that", said Marty Rouse, national field director for the Human Rights Campaign and a foster and adoptive parent.

"I had not seen the language on the "Paddie Amendment" on Senate Bill 2078 before it was voted on last night". It's also smaller in scope than a law that passed with enormous backlash, and was later partially repealed, in North Carolina.

SB 6 was significantly more restrictive, extending the biological-sex-based bathroom rules to all government buildings and public universities. If the student "does not wish" to do so, they would be required to use single-stall bathrooms and changing facilities instead.

Texas educates around 5.3 million public school students, more than any state except California, but has endured decades of legal battles, with the Legislature frequently cutting classroom budgets so deeply that school districts sue.


"This is shameful. We all know what we're doing, and everyone watching knows, too, no matter what code words are being used", said Rep. Joe Moody, a Democrat from El Paso who unsuccessfully tried to derail the bill by raising a procedural question about the amendment's germaneness to the underlying bill.

The author of the bill, Republican Representative Chris Paddie, said the legislation has "absolutely no intention to discriminate".

Texas's Republican-controlled Legislature has pushed closer to law a bill that allows publicly-funded foster care and adoption agencies to refuse to place children with non-Christian, unmarried or gay prospective.

"This bill doesn't prohibit particular groups from adopting", said Republican bill sponsor Sen. Charles Perry of Lubbock. "It doesn't establish one faith over another".

"Civil rights groups criticized the measure, which they say is likely to lead to discrimination and bullying against transgender students".

Supporters say it will expand the adoption opportunities in the state, by attracting religious organizations to participate in programs.

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