Though debate dragged on through the afternoon, the Texas Senate voted 21-10 to pass legislation to bar biological men from entering women’s bathrooms, showers, and locker rooms.
Passed with unanimous support from Senate Republicans and Democrat Eddie Lucio of Brownsville, SB 6 which has been dubbed the “Texas Privacy Act” would limit the use of bathrooms, showers, and locker rooms in government buildings to biological sex and conventional norms.
According to the bill’s author, State Sen. Lois Kolkhorst (R–Brenham), the legislation “codifies what most Texans already expect” by “[designating] separate showers, locker rooms and restrooms for males and females in public schools, colleges, universities and government facilities.”
The measure is a major priority of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and a crowd of conservative groups and leaders across the state. Last week a large coalition of them announced their support of Senate Bill 6 in a letter spearheaded by Texas Values.
But despite the widespread support, the legislation still has many detractors.
Opposition has come primarily from the GLBT lobby and the state’s ostensibly pro-business lobby group, the Texas Association of Business. Rather than support loosening regulations on businesses, like this legislation would do, the TAB has ardently opposed the legislation and argued that its passage would cost the state absurd amounts of money.
A similar argument was used ahead of the vote on Houston’s equal rights ordinance that compelled businesses to allow men into women’s restrooms. Supporters of the ordinance argued that if HERO were to be repealed, Houston would suffer major financial losses including the Super Bowl and the NCAA Final Four.
However, neither event was relocated after following the vote.
Those claims were so egregious that they were disputed by left-leaning Politifact, who rated TAB’s claim as “Mostly False.”
Despite clear evidence that their argument was flawed, TAB nonetheless refused to back down from their insistence that Texas conform to a radical left wing agenda. As the group testified against the legislation in the Senate State Affairs Committee last week, many Republican members took the group to task for their doom and gloom objections.
“Do you know how much credibility your organization has lost in this building?” asked State Sen. Brandon Creighton (R–Conroe).
Despite being debunked and debased, the TAB hewed to their position and continued to oppose the legislation even as it was deliberated on the Senate floor, releasing another letter claiming economic calamity if the state were to pass the legislation just prior to the vote.
The legislation, however, was tentatively approved by the Texas Senate by a vote of 21-10 Tuesday afternoon and was applauded by conservatives.
“We are pleased with the Texas Senate’s recognition that women’s privacy deserves protection and are hopeful that the House will quickly step up and do the right thing,” said Dana Hodges, Texas Director of Concerned Women for America. “Lawmakers cannot afford to stand idly by and therefore allow any man free access to women’s facilities.”
SB 6 will now proceed to the Texas House where it faces an arduous journey to passage. Opposition is expected from House Speaker Joe Straus who has already encouraged businesses to oppose the legislation and told reporters that he was “not a fan” of the legislation.