A bill that seeks to prohibit transgender youth from participating in sports cleared the Texas Senate on Friday, just a day after it passed the House.
House Bill 25 would require all transgender student athletes in grades K-12 to play on sports teams that correspond to the “biological sex” listed on their birth certificate.
The Republican-led House approved the bill with a 76-54 party-line vote on Thursday. The bill cleared the Senate on Friday with one Democrat, Senator Eddie Lucio Jr. of Brownsville, joining Republicans in a 19-12 vote. An amendment removed in the Senate meant the legislation returned to the House for a second passing vote.
According to the Austin American-Statesman, Republican senators skipped a public hearing on the bill.
“Cowards,” LGBT activist Ash Hall said on Twitter. “Too scared to face your own constituents?”
Prior to passage in the House, Republicans and Democrats clashed over the bill in a heated 10-hour debate.
Equality Texas, the state’s largest LGBT rights advocate, criticized the bill’s passage.
“Trans kids deserve so much more time and consideration than they have been shown in the Texas Legislature,” the group tweeted. “They deserve not to be debated but affirmed, to be loved, and the right to exist without their government trying to push them out of everyday life.”
Similar laws have been enacted in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Mississippi, Montana, South Dakota (by executive order), Tennessee, and West Virginia.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest LGBT rights advocate, on Sunday called on Governor Greg Abbott to veto the legislation. The governor, however, has signaled his support for the bill.
“If Governor Abbott signs this discriminatory bill, he is putting the health, safety, and very lives of transgender young people in Texas at risk,” HRC Texas State Director Rebecca Marques said in a statement. “These vulnerable kids are simply trying to navigate adolescence in an environment that lawmakers are making increasingly challenging.. There is no need for this bill, and legislators have failed to provide examples of any problem in Texas related to trans kids playing sports alongside their peers. There is no appetite for this bill among the majority of Texans – it is simply designed to help Republican legislators win the votes of far right primary voters. A number of states that have passed similarly discriminatory and hateful legislation are already facing legal action. Signing this legislation would hurt families and make Texas a less competitive destination for companies and employees alike.”
“It is appalling that Governor Abbott repeatedly designated this a priority and legislators spent hundreds of legislative hours pushing a discriminatory bill targeting transgender youth. Bills that discriminate against LGTBQ+ people are opposed by the majority of Texans. And the majority of Texans support priorities that the legislature hasn’t addressed, like fixing the electrical grid instead of relentlessly pursuing a politically motivated radical legislative agenda.”
by Carlos Santoscoy
Source – On Top Magazine