Around 4 a.m. Thursday, after a 21-hour long hearing, the Texas Senate State Affairs Committee passed SB 6, or as it’s become more commonly known, the Texas Bathroom Bill.
The bill, which requires people to use the public restrooms and locker rooms assigned to the sex shown on their birth certificates, was almost unanimously passed in an 8-1 vote.
The senators, including Brian Birdwell of Fort Bend, heard three hours of testimony from 253 witnesses, many of whom were reportedly transgender individuals or parents of transgender children.
Even with a Republican majority and SB 6 being a priority for the state administration, a vote before the full Senate is still prospective and uncertain at this time; however, Democratic Senator Eddie Lucio crossed party lines and voted in support of the bathroom bill and could be a sign of trends to come.
Although the bill text notably does not even mention the word ‘transgender,’ the effects would largely impact their community, and the bill signals the Senate’s disapproval of persons using the bathroom of the sex with which they identify.
Meanwhile, the full state Senate quietly passed SB 24, which protects religious sermons from government subpoenas in civil cases.
Introduced by Houston-area state Senator Joan Huffman (R), the legislation stems from a problem in 2014 where lawyers representing then-Mayor Annise Parker tried to subpoena several pastors who supported repealing her equal rights ordinance.
The Texas House stonewalled this sermon protection legislation when it was introduced two years ago, but the Senate’s present message is pretty clear: transgender – out, religion – in.