The Texas Senate has passed a bill that would require people to use bathrooms based on the sex on their birth certificate, but it faces significant opposition from influential corporations and LGBT activists.
The Senate voted to pass Senate Bill 6 by a vote of 21-10 on March 15. It has been characterized as a “bathroom bill.”
Lt. Governor Dan Patrick said the bill “reflects common decency and common sense and is essential to protect public safety.”
He said the bill “codifies what has always been common practice in Texas and everywhere else – that men, women, boys and girls should use separate, designated restrooms, locker rooms and showers in government buildings and public schools.”
Gov. Greg Abbott has not taken a clear stand on the bill. Republican House Speaker Joe Straus has been critical and said its passage could harm jobs and be bad for business, the Associated Press reports.
State Sen. John Whitmire objected that the bill would require self-identified transgender women who are “as feminine as any woman on the Senate floor” to use men's restrooms, the Texas Tribune reports.
The bill has opposition from corporations including Google, Amazon, American Airlines, Microsoft, Intel and Hilton. The National Football League and the National Basketball Association have said passage of the bill could cause them to decline to schedule events such as the Super Bowl and the All-Star Game in the state, Texas' ABC 13 reports.
In some parts of the U.S., anti-discrimination laws and policies that protect gender identity have required facilities to allow people who identify as the opposite sex to use the restrooms or locker rooms they identify with.
The Obama administration had begun to implement a rule requiring schools to implement transgender bathroom policies or lose federal funding, but the Trump administration withdrew the rule.
The Texas bill's author, State Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, cited the Obama administration's push as a justification for the bill.