Opponents of a bill that would have restricted restrooms available to transgender people celebrated its demise in the Texas legislature, at least for the moment. ASAE thanked a broad coalition of opponents and said it would continue to monitor legislative activity around the country for discriminatory measures.
The Texas legislature concluded a special summer session a day ahead of schedule Tuesday night without passing a controversial measure that would have required transgender people to use the restroom of their gender at birth.
The bill had faced intense opposition from a coalition of businesses, convention and visitors bureaus, and associations, including ASAE, which had denounced it as discriminatory and said it would harm the state’s economy.
Gov. Greg Abbott had called the 30-day special session and set its agenda, which included consideration of the bill.
“ASAE commends Texas legislators, in particular Speaker Joe Straus, for having the courage to block any so-called bathroom bills from being passed in this 30-day special session,” ASAE said in a statement Wednesday morning.
The organization thanked its “members and industry partners in Texas who joined ASAE in opposing legislation that would deny public accommodations to members of the LGBTQ community. Convention and visitor bureaus, hospitality executives, and corporate leaders in Texas have been united in opposing legislation we view to be discriminatory and contrary to our diversity and inclusion commitment.”
ASAE participated in the Keep Texas Open for Business coalition, which last week sent a letter to Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick—who had championed the bill—and Straus urging them to reject the legislation. More than 80 organizations and businesses, including major corporate names like Amazon, Capital One, Marriott, and Visa, signed the letter.
In its statement, ASAE thanked coalition members for advocating against several versions of the bathroom bill that emerged this year. It noted that the issue that could arise again when the Texas legislature reconvenes in two years, or in in other states.
“With the support of ASAE’s Board of Directors, ASAE will remain vigilant in opposing all legislation that we view to be discriminatory against segments of our community,” the statement said.
Abbott could call the legislature back to Austin for another special session, but his office has given no indication that he will do so, the Wall Street Journal reported.