Houston business leaders oppose state’s proposed “Bathroom Bill”

FILE- In this Aug. 23, 2007, file photo, a sign marks the entrance to a gender-neutral restroom at the University of Vermont in Burlington, Vt. Nearly all of the nation's 20 largest cities, including New York City, have local or state nondiscrimination laws that allow transgender people to use whatever bathroom they identify with, though a debate has raged around the topic nationwide. Bill de Blasio, a Democrat, signed an executive order on Monday, March 7, 2016, that guarantees people access to single-sex facilities consistent with their gender identity at city facilities, including offices, pools and recreation centers, without the need to show identification or any other proof of gender. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot, File)

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A group of Houston business leaders signed a letter to Governor Greg Abbott and Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick voicing their opposition to the state’s so-called “bathroom bill.” The letter stated that the bill, which would require individuals who identified as transgender to use facilities specified to their gender at birth, would hurt potential business growth across the state.

The letter was signed by the heads of some of the state’s largest energy companies, including BP America, CenterPoint Energy, Chevron, Dow, Exxon, and Halliburton. Other companies who signed on to the letter include Silver Eagle Distributors, the state’s largest beer distributor; Service Corporation International, the state’s largest funeral home corporation; and the publishers of Texas Monthly.

RELATED: Texas Bathroom Bill Debate Highlights Gap Between Cities, State

The letter cites the state’s “smart, pro-growth public policy” as a reason behind the success of their businesses and other companies statewide.

“We support diversity and inclusion, and we believe that any such bill risks harming Texas’ reputation and impacting the state’s economic growth and ability to create new jobs,” the letter states. “Any bill that harms our ability to attract top talent to Houston will inhibit our growth and continued success – and ultimately the success of our great state.”

Other groups have also spoken out against the bill. Representatives of the state’s tourism industry have said that the bill could dissuade transgender and other visitors from visiting the state, as well as discouraging conventions and other industry gatherings. Law enforcement leaders have also come out against the bill, stating that it would be too difficult to enforce.

RELATED: Bathroom Bill Passes Texas Senate Committee

Lt. Gov. Patrick has voiced his support for the bill. He has mentioned that the majority of Republican voters support the measure, which he claims would protect women and girls from sexual predators who would use restrooms as places to find their victims. Patrick has promised that he will continue calling for special legislative sessions until the bill is passed.

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