January 20, 2017
Yesterday, Greensboro, NC Mayor Nancy Vaughan traveled to Austin to warn Texas lawmakers against pursuing anti-LGBTQ legislation similar to North Carolina’s HB2. Vaughan cautioned that HB2 created a “man-made recession” in her state, and that Texans who oppose discrimination and placing the state’s future in jeopardy must speak out against any attempt to curtail the rights of their LGBTQ friends and neighbors. Read more about the visit here.
January 19, 2017
The Texas Legislature has gaveled in for 2017 and will remain in session until the end of May. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and State Sen. Lois Kolkhorst’s anti-transgender bill, SB 6, ignores the national fallout from North Carolina’s HB2 and seeks to deny the rights of transgender people in the Lone Star State.
SB 6 has drawn swift and strong opposition from the Texas Association of Business, which warned that discriminatory bills such as SB 6 are likely to lead to massive economic losses and a toxic, harmful environment for businesses and organizations looking to do business in Texas. The “Keep Texas Open for Business” coalition recently released a study commissioned by the Texas Association of Business that shows that the state could suffer a loss of $8.5 billion in GDP and 185,000 jobs if the state moves forward on anti-LGBTQ bills.
Additionally, a coalition of businesses and tourism groups held a press conference earlier last week outside the Texas Capitol to oppose SB 6, as part of the “Texas Welcomes All” campaign. The speakers rightly claimed these harmful bills are not indicative of “southern hospitality,” and that they would be incredibly costly for all Texans.
The economic fallout seen in North Carolina after passing HB2 — including more than $600 million in lost business — has continued to grow, as companies concerned with protecting their consumers and employees have moved conventions, trainings, operations, productions, and other events out of state. The NBA, NCAA and business leaders have made clear that cities like Orlando and New Orleans — cities with fullly inclusive LGBTQ protections — can best ensure the safety of their employees and fans. Texas can not afford to repeat North Carolina’s mistake.
Additionally, Texas Speaker of the House Joe Straus cautioned legislators not to do anything that could hurt the state’s ability to be competitive economically, a veiled reference to SB 6 which he has said in the past is not a priority for him this session.
The writing is on the wall in Texas. Anti-LGBTQ legislation in the state could not only cost the state billions, it could damage the reputation of the state while discriminating against LGBTQ Texans.
HRC is calling on our members and supporters in Texas to pledge to oppose any discriminatory legislation in the Lone Star State. Take a stand: Sign HRC’s No Hate in My State Pledge.
HRC is proud to join in coalition with Equality Texas, ACLU of Texas, the Texas Freedom Network, and the Transgender Education Network of Texas as we work together to defeat legislation that threatens the rights of LGBTQ Texans and their families.
Live in Texas and want to get more involved in the fight against anti-LGBTQ legislation? Contact HRC Texas Field Manager David Topping for more info.
January 6, 2017
SB 6 is receiving criticism from high-profile Texans. Rick Riordan, the novelist who writes the “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” series, recently turned down an opportunity to be honored by the Legislature due to “this nonsense.”
Just turned down an invite to be honored by TX state legislature as a Texas author. If they want to honor me, they could stop this nonsense. https://t.co/UuH5QLCRNe
— Rick Riordan (@camphalfblood) January 6, 2017
January 5, 2017
Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick and State Sen. Lois Kolkhorst introduced SB 6 — dishonestly titled the “Privacy Protection Act” — a bill expressly intended to discriminate against and block facility access for transgender Texans. The bill would overturn non-discrimination ordinances currently providing critical protections in several major Texas cities; further, it would force state agencies, municipalities, public schools and public universities to discriminate against transgender people. By making it illegal for transgender people in Texas to be afforded access to facilities consistent with their identity, it opens them up to increased discrimination and harassment as they simply live their everyday lives. It also exposes Texas to tremendous risk of the kind of financial, legal, and political blowback that North Carolina has continued to reckon with after the passage of HB2.
Dow Chemical immediately in opposition to SB6 with their statement on Twitter:
— Dow (@DowChemical) January 5, 2017