The Texas House of Representatives has ended its special session without passing an anti-transgender “bathroom bill.”
The Human Rights Campaign tweeted early this evening that the session is over and the legislation is dead.
— HumanRightsCampaign (@HRC) August 16, 2017
The state Senate in July passed Senate Bill 6, limiting transgender people’s restroom access in public schools and local government buildings, but it did not even receive a committee hearing in the House. During the regular session, the bill had also been passed in the Senate and stalled in the House, leading Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick to make it a priority in the special summer session.
But the bill met strong opposition not only from LGBT activists but from clergy members, law enforcement, and major corporations that have operations in Texas. House Speaker Joe Straus and Rep. Byron Cook, chairman of the House State Affairs Committee, are moderate Republicans who both opposed the bill. Straus declined to assign SB 6 to a committee, and Cook refused to hold a hearing in his committee on two similar measures that originated in the House, reports the Austin American-Statesman.
Straus and Cook were reportedly worried about economic consequences such as those faced by North Carolina after it passed House Bill 2, which included restroom restrictions for transgender people along with several other anti-LGBT provisions. Straus, however, also went on record as saying he didn’t want to be responsible for the suicide of any Texan. Trans people are at high risk for suicide, especially when their gender identity is not affirmed.
SB 6 would have required students, staff, and visitors in public schools to use the restrooms and other single-sex facilities matching the gender on their birth certificate or an ID issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety, and would put the same restriction on those using facilities in buildings overseen by local governments. It would also override portions of city ordinances that allow trans people to use the restrooms of their choice.
The state capitol was the site of numerous demonstrations both for and against the legislation throughout the regular and special sessions. In public hearings held during the regular session, people testifying against the bill far outnumbered those speaking in support of it.