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, reports Catholic News Agency.
The Senate voted to pass the bill on March 15. It has been characterised as a “bathroom bill”.
Lieutenant-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.”
Governor 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 Senator 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 was opposed by 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 US, 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.
Texas advances bill on transgender bathrooms, but fate unclear (Catholic News Agency)