Texas city’s “bathroom bill” fails as GOP leaders spar on the issue
North Carolina continues to struggle with criticism around HB2, the bill that forces transgender people into the wrong bathrooms and strips localities of the ability to protect LGBTQ individuals.
And they aren’t the only ones, Oxford, Alabama is trying to pass their own bathroom bill in response to Target allowing transfolks to use the bathroom aligned with their gender identity.
But in Rockwall, Texas, when their Mayor, Jim Pruitt, tried to pass a similar bill, a GOP higher-up has done something different and condemned the move.
“I believe in limited government and this is private property issue for stores. If someone doesn’t like the policy of a store, then don’t go to that store,” David White, a member of the GOP Executive Committee for Rockwall County and a City Councilmen, wrote in response to Pruitt’s ordinance. “Government doesn’t need to dictate who pees where. I also think enforcement would be next to impossible without requiring people to carry a special card or their birth certificate. But then again I’d also oppose police stopping people to verify possession of such identification. Laws already exist to prosecute for ‘peeping toms’ and assault and the other aggressions people are claiming not having this ordinance will lead to.”
White isn’t the only local leader to question the idea of forcing folks into specific bathrooms with new laws. According to the New Civil Rights movement, a Rockwall Police Department spokesman told a local TV station he couldn’t recall any instance of a cisgender man pretending to be transgender to gain access to a women’s restroom in the city.
In fact, any evidence of trans folks abusing bathroom privileges is impossible to find, with Buzzfeed’s Dominic Holden diving into records for the 17 states and 225 cities with laws banning LGBT discrimination. He found no reports of illegal activity.
Still, Pruitt defended his proposal telling WFAA-TV ”I just think that it’s insanity not to have those protections in place… These folks aren’t transgender that this is targeting. This is targeting folks of the opposite sex that are going into those restrooms under the guise of being transgender and having access. … This is not about sexual orientation or anything of that nature. It is about privacy and the protection of our children.”
Had Pruitt won, Rockwall would have been the only city in Texas to have such a law, though elected officials have shown an interest in taking such laws state-wide.
Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick has taken the issue to the internet and offered a petition to “keep men out of women’s restrooms.”
“This is not about equal rights, I am totally in favor of equal rights. I am not prejudice against anyone,” Patrick said in an interview with local NBC affiliate KXAS on Wednesday. He called the idea “common sense” and a matter of “Common decency.”
“I don’t want a man for any reason going into a woman’s bathroom or a woman’s locker room,” he said.
But back in Rockwall, push back has already bubbled up with protests held outside and it appears to have worked.
The bill failed during Monday night’s City Council meeting.
Top image via Texas Transgender Pride Initiative
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