March 08, 2017
If you thought you had long hours, check out the Texas Senate! Members of the State Affairs Committee clocked out well after 4:30 a.m., after putting in more than 21 hours of debate on SB 6, the Texas Privacy Act. For 13 hours, senators listened to passionate testimony from more than 250 witnesses on a bill that would ensure common-sense, gender-specific bathroom, shower, and locker room policies in schools and government buildings.
During my time, I reminded the committee that this isn't about discrimination -- but safety. "The threat comes from those who would exploit the situation, by those who would pose as transgender." That's exactly what the bill's author, state Senator Lois Kolkhorst (R) was trying to get across to members, when she said, "While the media makes it so much about transgender [issues], this is a bill to say men should not go into the women's restroom." Lt. Governor Dan Forest (R-N.C.) was also on hand to debunk the myth that their law -- HB 2 -- devastated the North Carolina economy. Despite the loss of the NBA All-Star Game and other college championships, Forest said the positive gains far outweighed the negative ones. Even if it hadn't, he argued, "I will never trade the privacy, safety, and security of a woman or a child for a basketball ticket. And neither should you."
It's an incredible balancing act, I explained, but "Senate Bill 6 actually provides for the legitimate needs of the 0.6% of the population that reportedly identify as transgender, without trampling on the rights to safety and privacy of the vast majority." Ultimately, the committee agreed, voting 8-1 to clear its first hurdle and send the bill to the full Senate for approval. Unfortunately, House Speaker Joe Straus seems to be listening to someone other than the 77 percent of Texans who think SB 6 is a good idea. "Clearly, I'm not a fan of the bill they are discussing," he told reporters. Like too many liberals, he's using the worn-out excuse that that Texas should be focused on "more important matters." What he forgets is that Texas didn't pick this fight -- President Obama did. Former Houston Mayor Annise Parker and other city councils across the country did. SB 6 is the statewide response to a problem the Left created.
A day earlier, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick (R-Texas) did an incredible job encouraging the state's pastors at FRC's joint briefing with Texas Values.
"[P]ray for all your legislators to be bold and courageous, do the right thing, pray for their protection and then go out and win this fight for America because America is watching Texas. The world depends on a strong America, and America depends on a strong Texas. And a strong Texas depends on a church and our synagogues." Then, noting the significance of the date, he said, "Today, on this day, 189 people sacrificed their lives at the Alamo, all died... because they believed in something. Without their sacrifice, none of us would be here today in a place called Texas. We're not asked to give our lives. We're not asked to grab our guns. We're just asked to go cast courageous votes. Go and educate your congregations. Have them call their members."
The last thing we want is to give any momentum to the Left, especially after the leadership President Trump showed in rolling back the Obama school bathroom mandate. If you live in Texas, keep contacting your state leaders. If you don't, contact someone even more important: God!
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.