The Texas Observer reports today that they've now apparently set a record for the most anti-LGBT legislation in the history of any state.
At least 20 anti-LGBT measures were introduced prior to last week's filing deadline. That's more than what is believed to be the previous record of 16 in Oklahoma this year.
But in the Sooner State, 15 of those bills have already died, and LGBT advocates in Texas say they're confident they'll have similar results.
From the Observer:
Daniel Williams, legislative specialist for Equality Texas, said the group is “well-positioned” to defeat every piece of anti-LGBT legislation. Williams called it the worst session for LGBT rights since 2005—when the state’s marriage amendment passed and a proposal to ban gay foster parents was defeated on the House floor.
“What’s different about this Legislature than 2005 is that Texas, like most of the nation, has evolved on LGBT issues, and that mainstream voice is emerging and is being heard in the Texas Legislature,” Williams said. “It damages the Texas brand, and I think that’s why you’re seeing so many business voices get involved. … We also know how this process works better than our opposition does.”
The anti-LGBT legislation in Texas ranges from proposals targeting same-sex marriage, to religious freedom "license to discriminate" amendments, to bans on local LGBT protections, to bills that would criminalize transgender bathroom use.
“Unfortunately, I think it gets couched as ‘anti.’ It’s not about ‘anti.’ It’s about being pro-states’ rights. It’s about being pro-traditional values,” Bell said. “We’re seeing the results of a federal court system that doesn’t seem to be respecting the rights, the sovereignty, of the states and of the people. Because of that, you see the state legislatures pushing back.”
And GOP Rep. Gilbert Pena (right), the author of two of the four transgender bathroom criminalization bills, said this:
“This bill really is trying to establish the students’ rights to privacy,” said Rep. Gilbert Pena (R-Pasadena), who wants to make schools liable for damages if they allow transgender students to use restrooms based on how they identify. “How many girls in our high schools are going to be willing to allow some transgender male into their bathroom? Would you allow that for your daughter? I would not allow it for my daughter.”
Apparently, Pena doesn't quite understand the concept of transgender, since his bill would actually require transgender males to use the restroom alongside his daughter.