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Dallas's transgender-inclusive civil rights ordinance could be facing a challenge like the one that brought down Houston's.
A group of conservative ministers planned to meet privately today "to discuss how to fight the ordinance," reports right-wing site Charisma News.
The group, the U.S. Pastor Council, grew out of the Houston Area Pastor Council, which helped force a public referendum on the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, resulting in voters repealing it last November.
As with the Houston ordinance, the pastors are casting the Dallas ordinance as a "bathroom bill." They say that by allowing transgender people to use the sex-segregated facilities matching their gender identity, it will enable men masquerading as women to attack women and girls in restrooms and locker rooms -- something that, in reality, has never happened as a result of a trans-inclusive public accommodations law.
"This threat of personal safety and privacy against women will also criminalize Christian business owners is the same threat we're trying to address," Dave Welch of the pastor council told Charisma News, using rather convoluted verbiage.
The Dallas ordinance, which the City Council updated in November, bans discrimination based on gender identity in employment, housing, and public accommodations. The city previously considered gender identity to be covered under sexual orientation, which was added to the ordinance in 2002, but since the two characteristics are different, a local LGBT group recommended that the council revise the language.
There was no organized opposition before the Dallas council took its vote, but the opposition has organized retroactively. Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Houston anti-LGBT activist Jared Woodfill denounced the Dallas ordinance soon after its passage, and now comes the pastors' meeting.
"It's just another in the latest sequence across the nation, being implemented by the Human Rights Council and radical LGBT movement, forcing [LGBT regulations] on the local community," Welch told Charisma News of the ordinance, apparently meaning the Human Rights Campaign. "Often because we simply have not paid attention to who we put into office at city level, they're too easily manipulated by emotional rhetoric. It's time to stand up and turn back to Judeo-Christian framework, morality, and law."