Backers of bathroom bill, including San Antonio pastor, vow to enlist support of 1 million Christians

March 6, 2017 GMT

AUSTIN - Backers of the so-called bathroom bill said Monday they’ll mobilize 1 million Christians in their effort to push the measure through the Legislature.

They also announced the support of a Democratic state senator for the effort, which has been largely supported by Republicans, although not all GOP leaders are in favor of it.

As filed by Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham, the measure would specify that restrooms, dressing rooms and locker rooms in government buildings, schools and universities be designated for use by people according to their “biological sex.”

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It would allow school districts to make accommodations, such as single-occupancy bathrooms. Among other provisions, the bill also would prohibit any local government from adopting an ordinance preventing businesses from making their own restroom policies.

Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who has championed the measure, at a news conference continued to assert that the bill is not an attack on transgender people or the LGBTQ community.

He said it’s “about preventing a free pass to sexual predators who are not transgender.”

Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr., D-Brownsville, joined Republicans at a press conference to say he is supporting the bill because school children “lack the maturity to fully comprehend circumstances and need to be guided by their parents and teachers.”

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Lucio’s support could help Senate passage of the measure, although Patrick said there were enough votes to bring up the measure in the chamber even without it. The bill is expected to have a much tougher road in the House, where Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, has expressed concern about its potential economic effect.

Among conservative religious leaders at the press conference who will join in the push for the bill was Pastor Charles Flowers of the Faith Outreach Center in San Antonio.]

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