By Victor Ochieng
“It’s an all-out assault on LGBT people,” declared one LGBT rights activist in response to a series of anti-LGBTQ laws being proposed by Texas legislators. If they sail through, the laws will go a long way in restricting the rights of members of the gay community.
According to USA Today, one of the proposed laws will give room for adoption agencies to deny members of the LGBTQ community the right to adoption. Another is reported to have the potential of denying gay couples licenses, then another is likely to bring back the restrooms debate by demanding that everyone, including transgender persons use restrooms that correspond to their biological gender.
Even as LGBTQ rights groups are up in arms against the proposed laws, proponents argue that the laws will work to protect religious freedom and make restrooms safe for everyone.
So far, LGBTQ rights groups have pointed out 24 bills introduced into the Texas legislature this season as having the potential of adversely restricting LGBT rights.
“This is the most number of specifically anti-LGBT bills that we’ve ever faced. It’s an all-out assault on LGBT people,” stated Chuck Smith, the president of Equality Texas.
The bill dealing with restrooms famously referred to as the “bathroom bill,” has already attracted nationwide attention and is drawing mixed reactions from different quarters, especially because it’s coming after a similar bill was passed in North Carolina.
Despite the widespread uproar against such bills, the Texas legislature, in which the Republican party commands the majority, is callously surging forward with the bills as other states follow suit.
Even though the “bathroom bill” passed through the Texas Senate in March, it’s since stalled in the House. The bill sailed through in the Senate despite Chris Wallace, President of Texas Association of Business, warning lawmakers that the bill, if passed as it were, would result in at least $407 million in losses for the state.
State legislatures in 30 of the 50 US states have in this year alone introduced 131 anti-LGBT bills, with some of them having already sailed through. The Washington-based Human Rights Campaign reported that of all the 131 bills, only nine have been passed into law. From the look of things, all these are happening because Trump Administration is friendly to such laws.
Why are these laws being hurried? The manner in which the laws are being pushed through makes it appear like there is some race against time.