Republican Lt. Governor Dan Patrick of Texas called on pastors March 6 to oppose transgender rights by supporting a state bill that would require people to use the bathroom of their biological sex (video below).
Senate Bill 6 would also ban local governments in Texas from passing laws that would allow transgender people to use the bathroom or locker rooms -- in schools and other public facilities -- that match their gender identity, notes Vox. Additionally, the bill would allow companies to have their own anti-transgender bathroom rules.
Patrick addressed pastors during a meeting at the Texas Public Policy Foundation that was arranged by the Christian-based Family Research Council (FRC), reports The Christian Post.
Patrick is reportedly hoping the pastors can use the influence they wielded when opposing a Houston transgender bathroom ordinance in 2015.
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Patrick told the pastors during the briefing that America depends on Texas, and Texas depends on Jewish and Christian houses of worship:
Number one, pray for all your legislators to be bold and courageous, do the right thing, pray for their protection and then go out and win this fight for America because America is watching Texas.
The world depends on a strong America, and America depends on a strong Texas, and a strong Texas depends on a church and our synagogues. That's what it stands for, Texas values. That's who we are.
Patrick also recalled the Battle of the Alamo against Mexicans in 1836:
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Today, on this day, 189 people sacrificed their lives at the Alamo, all died ... because they believed in something. Without their sacrifice, none of us would be here today in a place called Texas.
We're not asked to give our lives. We're not asked to grab our guns. We're just asked to go cast courageous votes. Go and educate your congregations. Have them call their members.
After invoking bloodshed of the battle, Patrick asked the pastors to use gentle and persuasive means on congregations to support the anti-trans bill:
We are going to need your help in gentle, persuasive and positive ways. But always let people know that politicians care about a lot of things and one of the things that they always keep their eye on is "What are the voters saying back in my district?" We all are held accountable.
FRC head Tony Perkins told the Texas State Affairs Committee on March 7 that the bill would guard against "non-discrimination" laws and people pretending to be transgender:
This bill responds to a potential threat not just from the federal government, but from local governments and school districts within Texas that might choose to adopt "non-discrimination" laws or policies that elevate "gender identity" over biological sex and thereby threatening the security and privacy of Texans. That's exactly what happened in Houston -- until the people placed the issue on the ballot and overturned the action of the City Council and Mayor.
Let me emphasize that the threat does not primarily come from persons who identify as transgender. Rather, it comes from those who might exploit the situation by posing as transgender to gain easier access to (usually) women's bathrooms or changing facilities, where they can engage in voyeurism, indecent exposure, or even sexual assault.
The National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence Against Women -- over 200 national, state and local organizations -- said in April 2016 that they "support of full and equal access for the transgender community," noted ABC News.
The organization also addressed bathroom predator fears:
Over 200 municipalities and 18 states have nondiscrimination laws protecting transgender people’s access to facilities consistent with the gender they live every day.
None of those jurisdictions have seen a rise in sexual violence or other public safety issues due to nondiscrimination laws. Assaulting another person in a restroom or changing room remains against the law in every single state.