The Texas Senate passed the controversial "bathroom bill" Wednesday, after a tentative vote on Tuesday.
In a 21-10 final vote, the state Senate officially sent the legislation to the House for consideration, where it is expected to face greater resistance than it did in the Senate. Despite conservative support for the bill, Republican House Speaker Joe Straus opposes the measure, which he believes would be bad for business. High-profile companies like Apple and Google have already protested the bill, and the NFL voiced its disapproval, too.
The bill would require transgender Texans to use the public restroom that corresponds with the biological sex listed on their birth certificates -- something some conservatives believe would prevent predators from sneaking into another gender's bathroom. In a statement Wednesday, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick said he believes the legislation has overwhelming bipartisan support.
"The Texas Privacy Act reflects common decency and common sense and is essential to protect public safety," Patrick said. "It protects Texas businesses and codifies what has always been common practice in Texas and everywhere else -- that men, women, boys and girls should use separate, designated restrooms, locker rooms and showers in government buildings and public schools."
Opponents claim the "bathroom bill" discriminates against the LGBT community and point to a lack of evidence that transgender Americans are committing crimes in restrooms, instead citing research indicating transgender individuals may be more likely to be harassed or assaulted in bathrooms.