Texas set to pass transgender bathroom law for schools

An illustration of a sign for a transgender bathroom.                       CNN

An illustration of a sign for a transgender bathroom. CNN

A "bathroom bill" similar to the one that sparked controversy in North Carolina is quickly working its way through the Texas legislature.

Amid threats of a special legislative session over the "bathroom bill", the Texas House on Sunday took a last-minute vote and approve a proposal that would keep transgender students from using school bathrooms in line with their gender identity.

The rulings have raised the potential of Texas becoming the first state dragged back under federal oversight since the U.S. Supreme Court in 2013 gutted the federal Voting Rights Act, which had required states with troubled racial histories to submit election changes for approval. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a proponent of transgender bathroom restrictions, has indicated he'll sign the measure into law.

Supporters described limiting the scope to schools as "middle ground" and hinted that it could soften the kinds of costly boycotts that hit North Carolina after it approved its bathroom bill a year ago.

The more limited House measure is seen as a way to avoid an economic backlash in Texas, analysts said. "This is a very important amendment requested by a very important constituent, namely my wife and son", he said.

Texas lawmakers counter the LGBT agenda by passing bills that block students from using opposite sex bathrooms and protect adoption agencies from LGBT parenting. Over the past months, Texas lawmakers have mostly questioned the financial repercussions of discriminating against trans people in public restrooms - not because of the civil rights implications, but because of the tourism and major event dollars the state may lose in supporting such legislation.

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Golden Gate Bridge officials became aware of the stunt a week and a half ago when they saw the video online, authorities said. The reckless behavior of the individuals who performed this stunt does not distract from this fact", Clemens said.

"For those who care about unfunded mandates, if a school district or open enrollment [faces a lawsuit], it requires the state attorney general to defend them", Paddie said. Meanwhile, Texas lawmakers also have proposed bills or amendments allowing "religious liberty" exemptions for lawyers, pharmacists and nurses.

"Bathrooms divided us then and bathrooms divide us now", said Texas Democratic Rep. Senfronia Thompson. "... If he does succeed in forcing discrimination into Texas law, you can bet that Lambda Legal will be on the case before the next school bell rings".

Representatives voted 94-51 in favor of the bill. Republican State Rep. Chris Paddie states that the amendment preserves the "privacy, dignity and safety" of Texas students.

Rebecca Robertson, legal and policy director for the ACLU of Texas, ridiculed the idea that the bathroom amendment was somehow a compromise, saying: "T$3 here can be no compromise on discrimination".

"I happened to be a part of this society during a period of time in this state and in this country when we had "separate but equal" and I remember those days". However, the measure stalled in the House.

"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. It lacked a bar on state-wide anti-discriminatory laws - save for those regarding the use of bathrooms - and included a carve-out for any private entities that rent, say, a stadium or arena, allowing them to enforce whatever regulations and policies regarding restrooms that it prefers.

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