ROCKWALL - The Rockwall City Council killed a so-called bathroom bill late Monday night without ever voting on it.

Mayor Jim Pruitt, the bill's lone supporter, faced opposition from all five council members present.

Most said they originally supported it but realized it was unenforceable.

When Mayor Pruitt called for a vote at about 9:35 p.m., no one seconded him and the bill died.

Pruitt told WFAA he wouldn't rework the language to resurrect it.

About 100 transgender men and women, along with their supporters, rallied outside Rockwall City Hall Monday evening before city council killed a so-called bathroom bill they worried would unfairly single them out.
About 100 transgender men and women, along with their supporters, rallied outside Rockwall City Hall Monday evening before city council killed a so-called bathroom bill they worried would unfairly single them out.

The ordinance was the first standalone bill of its kind in the state, which would have required people to use public restrooms of the gender listed on their birth certificate.

It was standing room only in council chambers and every seat was taken in an overflow area set up in the lobby before the meeting began at 6 p.m. It was the largest crowd at a council meeting in several years, officials said.

One of the city's largest employers, Hilton on Lake Ray Hubbard, verbally opposed the ordinance.

"Our business will suffer," said James Montgomery, Hilton General Manager. "This will negatively affect travel and tourism to our area."

The hotel employs 175 workers and pays $750,000 in property taxes, Montgomery reminded city council.

Supporters said the bill would protect women and children against men posing as women to enter the ladies room.

"This is an expression of love for our women and children," said John White, an ordinance supporter.

"If this ordinance saves one child or one woman it is worth every heartache you go through tonight," said Michelle Smith, supporter.

About 100 transgender men and women, along with their supporters, rallied outside Rockwall City Hall Monday evening before city council killed a so-called bathroom bill they worried would unfairly single them out.
About 100 transgender men and women, along with their supporters, rallied outside Rockwall City Hall Monday evening before city council killed a so-called bathroom bill they worried would unfairly single them out.

But opponents said it singles out transgender men and women who have used the restroom without issue for years.

Almost 100 transgender people and their supporters rallied outside before the meeting and filled many of the seats.

This is a solution looking for a problem, said Steve Rudner, Equality Texas.

Transgender people have been using the bathroom for years without a problem and will continue to, he continued.

"I feel safe with my son using the bathroom around my trans friends," said Jennifer Valdez, supporter. "It's a mistake. The humiliation so many will have to go through is not worth it."

Karen Roggenkamp, a citizen who spoke against the ordinance, threatened to sue the city if it became law.

Rockwall County District Attorney Kenda Culpepper didn't take sides but provided information to council, she said, as a resource.

"This is about sex predators that will use this issue ... as an excuse to get into the bathroom to possibly assault children," Culpepper told council members.

"It is already illegal to enter a bathroom and commit assault," said Stephanie Gardella, opponent.

Nell Gaither, a transgender individual who helped organize the opposition, said she fears the ordinance could have resulted in vigilantism with others like her being attacked.

But State Rep. Matt Shaheen, R-Plano, said he plans to draft legislation for the next legislative session that stops cities from regulating public restrooms.

"I just don't know if the state needs to be regulating restrooms but certainly the cities - they definitely don't need to be," said Shaheen.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick told WFAA's Inside Texas Politics on Sunday that a statewide law is likely coming next session.