Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick Must Be Stopped

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May 21, 2017
Photo by: Gage Skidmore
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick

The Texas legislature today is considering several bills and potential amendments that target LGBT Texans – and specifically transgender schoolchildren, LGBT kids in the child welfare system and potential LGBT foster and adoptive parents – for discrimination.

These moves, especially efforts to burden necessary legislation with onerous amendments, followed Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s threat late Friday to hold endless special sessions to force through several anti-transgender bills that are currently stalled.

"Against all actual facts, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is hell-bent on making transgender kids into scary villains. That's not just wrong and abusive: it's also begging to be sued," said Jennifer C. Pizer, Senior Counsel and Director of Law and Policy for Lambda Legal. "Didn't he notice what happened in North Carolina? The wrong-headed attack on transgender people backfired – expensively – for former Governor Pat McCrory."

"But, bizarrely, Lt. Gov. Patrick continues his obsession, ignoring the voices of Texas’s business, civic and education leaders about sensible, proven ways to protect everyone’s privacy in restrooms – which is not to target transgender people for simply being themselves," Pizer added. "If he does succeed in forcing discrimination into Texas law, you can bet that Lambda Legal will be on the case before the next school bell rings."

Among the bills currently before the Texas Legislature is HB 3859, now before the Senate, a discriminatory bill that would allow many child placement agencies in the state foster care system – including agencies receiving state and federal funding – to prioritize their religious beliefs above the needs of children in its care and to operate in a manner explicitly counter to professional standards.

The bill would prevent the state from sanctioning or revoking the licenses of religiously affiliated child-placement agencies that discriminate against LGBT youth and families, including foster and adoptive parents.

As troubling, news came out of the Texas legislature today of an effort to amend SB 2078 – a bill to address emergency operation plans for schools – with language about bathrooms targeting transgender schoolchildren.

Lambda Legal stands ready to help transgender youth who experience discrimination in school, and asks them or their parents or supportive adults to call our Help Desk at 212-809-8585 or to visit this link.