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Texas Senate approves bathroom bill, but all is not lost yet

Hopes now rest on House Speaker Joe Straus who could kill SB6

Texas Senate approves bathroom bill, but all is not lost yet
Texas House of Representatives
House Speaker Joe Straus has voiced his opposition against SB6, Texas's bathroom bill

Trans people in Texas face being banned from using the right bathroom for them but one unlikely man can save them – a top Republican.

In 2010, the Dallas Voice said House Speaker Joe Straus ‘may be the LGBT community’s best friend in the Texas Legislature’ and now he has got the chance to prove it.

The Senate passed SB6, Texas’s version of North Carolina’s infamous HB6, with a 21-10 vote yesterday (14 March).

Senators debated the bill for four and a half hours on the discrimination of trans people in Texas before casting their votes.

Introduced by Lt Governor Dan Patrick, SB6 would require trans people to use the bathrooms matching their ‘biological’ gender and not their gender identity.

It would also bypass any local legislation passed with the intent to allow trans people to use the bathroom in accordance with their gender identity.

The bill was introduced by Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, who calls it the privacy act and insists SB6’s purpose is to prevent sexual predators from enterin women’s bathrooms.

The vote split conservatives, but also saw one Democrat, Senator Eddie Lucio Jr of Brownsville, voting in favor of the law.

But despite the Senate’s vote, SB6 could still be defeated.

It first needs to gain approval from the Senate’s upper chamber, and then SB6 will be sent to the House of Representatives.

And House Speaker Straus is not favor of the bill.

So far he has not declared SB6 dead on arrival, but repeatedly denounced it in public.

Straus said it would potentially lead to job losses and that Texas needed to ‘send the right signals’ if it wants to keep its economic edge.

‘It’s not just about basketball tournaments or conventions,’ Straus said.

‘Many people where I’m from are concerned about anything that could slow down overall job creation.’

Some threats have been made already. The National Football League said should SB6 pass, they would have to reconsider whether they could bring the Super Bowl back to Texas.

A similar warning came from the National Basketball Association, who pulled their All-Stars game from North Carolina over the bathroom bill.

What has HB2 done to North Carolina?

North Carolina’s bathroom bill, the first in the US, caused significant economic damage.

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) pulled all seven 2016-17 championship events from the state.

North Carolina is also on the cusp of losing all NCAA championship events through 2022, which could result in a $250 million loss for the state.

The law also badly damaged North Carolina’s reputation and saw major music stars, including Bruce Springsteen, Nick Jonas and Demi Lovato, cancel gigs.

Deutsche Bank and Paypal canceled plans to expand in North Carolina, which lost the state 650 jobs

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