Dallas city council approves transgender bathroom ordinance
DALLAS, November 10, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) - Dallas city council voted unanimously on Tuesday to approve an ordinance allowing transgender people to use the "facilities" of the opposite sex.
The measure, which opponents describe as a "bathroom" bill, adds "gender identity" to the city's 2002 anti-discrimination law alongside race, sex, and sexual orientation.
Mayor Mike Rawlings said, "We're a very diverse city. We want to make sure everyone is protected."
The move comes one week to the day after Houston residents voted to repeal the transgender ordinance passed by their city council. More than 60 percent of citizens said no in a landslide defeat of the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO).
Wary of a similar fate, city council member Lee Kleinman said, "This is not a bathroom ordinance. It is an anti-discrimination ordinance update."
However, the Dallas ordinance now grants members of one biological sex "access to all places of public accommodation" of their choice.
"Discrimination means any direct or indirect exclusion," the revised language says.
Although the city's LGBT Task Force has been working on the wording for a year, its opponents say council members surprised city residents by approving the language during a closed door meeting.
“This Dallas bathroom ordinance will allow men into women's bathrooms and that's why the Dallas City Council is deliberately trying to avoid the people," Jonathan Saenz, president of Texas Values Action, told LifeSiteNews by e-mail. "Their fast track method of passing this dangerous bill that threatens the safety of women and children is the same strategy used in Houston to disenfranchise voters with their failed bathroom bill. Creating law behind closed doors and forcing it onto the people the next morning is a recipe for disaster."
State Senator Don Huffines, a Republican whose district includes part of Dallas, said the council's "new sneak-attack LGBT ordinance must be repealed and carefully reviewed."
Last November, 77 percent of Dallas voters approved adding "sexual orientation" and "gender identity and expression" to the city charter - but it applied only to city employees, and "gender identity" was not approved as a stand alone measure.
"These Obama and D. C. style tactics will not work in Texas," Saenz said. "Get ready for a Texas-sized response.”