(AP) Top Texas Republicans are eager to bring a fight that sparked upheaval and business boycotts in North Carolina to the country’s largest conservative state, unveiling Thursday a bill that would ban transgender people from using the bathroom of their choice.
The Texas Privacy Act requires all Texas residents to use the bathroom or locker room according to the gender on their birth certificates and prohibits local governments from passing ordinances designed to protect gay rights in public restrooms and other “intimate settings.”
“It’s the right thing to do,” said Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, a Houston Republican who oversees the state Senate and quoted the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. while promoting the proposal at the Texas Capitol. “The people of Texas elected us to stand up for common sense, common decency and public safety.”
Bill sponsor state Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, a Republican, said her “thoughtful and unique” bill would not create “bathroom police” and would allow anyone to lodge complaints upon seeing something in public restrooms that made them uncomfortable. She added the bill was written “not to start a controversy but to end one.”
But the news conference itself caused a stir. Organizers had to close the door of a packed room after about a dozen protesters — some carrying handmade signs reading “Flush SB6” (Senate Bill 6) — launched a chorus of loud boos.
Texas’ largest business lobbying group says approving the measure and other popular anti-gay-rights proposals could cost the state up to $8.5 billion and 100,000-plus jobs…