Debate Over Texas Bathroom Bill Isn’t Going Away Anytime Soon

Jul 16, 2017

Credit Axel Boldt / Wikimedia Commons

The Texas Legislature spent much of the 2017 session grappling over whether to pass a law disallowing transgender students to use the bathroom where they feel most comfortable, requiring these students to instead use the restroom that correlates with their birth certificates. Now, as the Daily Beast notes, the controversial Texas bathroom bill may end up playing an outsize role in the 2018 GOP primary campaigns.

Bathroom bills have scuttled in other parts of the South, largely because the laws have caused a good deal of handwringing among the business community. In Texas, many businesses have openly protested the measure. IBM recently took out full-age ads imploring lawmakers to vote against the legislation.

Neverthless, the issue remains still at the center of the political struggle—and will likely be the touchpoint for contentious dialogue during next year’s primary season.  

The Texas bathroom bill has received pushback from House Speaker Joe Straus and more moderate and business-friendly conservative factions within the state. These groups see the bill as a distraction that would unnecessarily frighten away out-of-state organizations who might otherwise choose to do business in the Lone Star State.

But the bill is backed by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, as well as far-right super PACS like the “Conservative Republicans of Texas.”

Jared Woodfill, the Houston attorney who is that group’s president, spoke in no uncertain terms about his PAC’s opposition to the more moderate forces in Texas: “To the extinct [sic] that someone chooses to lock arms with Joe Straus and promote his liberal agenda for the state, and work with him to kill conservative legislation, we’re going to be looking for and back a primary challenger to that individual.”