Transphobic, Antigay Bills Creep Into Texas Senate
The Texas state Senate passed a bill Tuesday that activists say unfairly targets transgender people by restricting the forms of identification that can be used to apply for a marriage license in the state.
Senate Bill 1218 would prohibit anyone in Texas from obtaining a marriage license unless they present photo identification, reports the Dallas Voice. If passed, the bill would exclude several forms of identification that are currently valid — including an affidavit of change of sex.
Republican state senator Donna Campbell introduced the bill with the stated intention to require that a photo be shown to get a marriage license, reports the Voice. But LGBT advocates say the legislation will have the effect of barring transgender people from marrying someone of the opposite sex if the transgender person does not have current identification that lists their accurate gender.
"Donna Campbell's bill is targeting communities that aren't likely to have forms of ID," Equality Texas field organizer Daniel Williams told the Voice. Williams said his organization is attempting to slow the bill's progress, to keep it from passing a house committee and making it to the House floor for debate by the session's deadline at midnight May 21.
Williams also calls attention to an amendment filed to Senate Bill 215, which he says would allow student organizations at universities to ignore the school's antidiscrimination policy around inclusive membership. Williams said the amendment has a strong chance of passing this week, since its sponsor, Republican representative Matt Krause, is positioning the bill as a way to protect the free speech of students.
"It's not about protecting free speech," Williams told the Voice. "It's about tax-funded hate speech."