Bathroom Bills Will Not Even Survive In GOP States
There was another play to the conservative base from Donald Trump this week when he took off after transgender Americans. He revoked an Obama-era federal directive instructing public schools to let transgender students use bathrooms and locker rooms of their chosen gender.
I may not know how it feels to need to make a choice about gender identity but I sure as hell can put the political components of this matter into one sentence. There is a well-defined economic impacted dimension to this larger matter that will drive this nation to the end result. There will be, and should be, a basic understanding that people will be allowed to live the life that they feel is theirs to have and own. Big business will, in the end, be the ones to curb conservative over-reach on bathroom bills and push certain evangelicals back under their rocks.
This morning David Crary writes a long news story for AP concerning the pitfalls Republicans face–in the reddest of states–as they try to put themselves in the stalls of our restrooms. Republican men need to keep their hands off women’s reproduction organs and away from the bathroom door!
Yet at the state level, bills that would limit transgender bathroom access are floundering even though nearly all have surfaced in Republican-controlled legislatures that share common ground politically with Trump. In none of the states with pending bills does passage seem assured; there’s been vigorous opposition from business groups and a notable lack of support from several GOP governors.
The chief reason, according to transgender-rights leaders, is the backlash that hit North Carolina after its legislature approved a bill in March 2016 requiring transgender people to use public restrooms that correspond to the sex on their birth certificates. Several major sports organizations shifted events away from North Carolina, and businesses such as PayPal decided not to expand in the state. In November, Republican Pat McCrory, who signed and defended the bill, became the only incumbent governor to lose in the general election.
“We don’t need that in Arkansas,” said that state’s GOP governor, Asa Hutchinson, earlier this month. “If there’s a North Carolina-type bill, then I want the Legislature not to pass it.”
North Carolina’s experience also has been evoked in Texas, where a “bathroom bill” known as Senate Bill 6 is being championed by GOP Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who founded the Legislature’s tea party caucus and oversees the state Senate. Business groups and LGBT-rights supporters have warned that passage of the North Carolina-style bill could cost Texas many millions of dollars, as well as the opportunity to host future pro sports championships.
Mark Jones, a political science professor at Rice University in Houston, assessed the bill’s chances of enactment as “effectively zero.” The measure might not even clear the Senate, he said, and would be “dead on arrival” if it reached the House of Representatives.
“The centrist conservative Republicans in the House, led by Speaker Joe Straus, view SB 6 as an unwanted distraction,” Jones said.
In Virginia, South Dakota and Wyoming, bills targeting transgender people already have died this year for lack of high-level support. The South Dakota bill, opposed by GOP Gov. Dennis Daugaard, would have required public school students to use the locker rooms and shower rooms matching their gender at birth.
In several other states, such as Kansas and Kentucky, bathroom bills remain alive but are gaining little traction. Kentucky’s GOP Gov. Matt Bevin, though a staunch social conservative, has dismissed the proposal as unnecessary government intrusion.
Is there anyone you know in Kentucky who has trouble going to the bathroom?” he asked.
In Tennessee, two lawmakers promoting a bathroom bill abruptly ended a news conference last week when it was interrupted by protesters, one wearing a T-shirt reading, “You can pee next to me.”