Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (left) – Photo: Office of the Lieutenant Governor
Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) has declared victory in the battle over an anti-transgender “bathroom bill,” even though the measure was never officially signed into law, reports The Houston Chronicle.
Speaking at the Republican Party of Texas’ annual convention in San Antonio last week, Patrick said that the issue was “settled” and that the Republican Party “won.”
Patrick based his reasoning on the outcome of this year’s Republican primary elections, which featured several non-binding ballot questions on various hot-button issues, including whether they supported “protecting the privacy of women and children” in public restrooms by requiring people to use only those facilities that match their biological sex at birth.
For much of the 2017 legislative session, Texas Republicans, particularly those in the Senate, pushed for a bill restricting transgender restroom and locker room access.
Despite resistance from Democrats and the business community, the bill was only stopped after then-House Speaker Joe Straus refused to advance the bill, citing concerns over a potential economic backlash against the state.
But Patrick continues to insist that the bill was not discriminatory.
“It’s simply common sense, common decency and public safety to protect the women of the state of Texas,” he said at the time the bill was announced.
According to Patrick, the overwhelming support from Republican voters for the bathroom restrictions during this year’s primary is a victory.
Allen Blakemore, a chief strategist for Patrick’s re-election campaign this year, says the non-binding primary ballot measures shows there is unity among Republicans when it comes to various issues. Nearly 90% of GOP voters supported restrictions on transgender restroom use.
For all the stories that dominated headlines in Texas newspapers about the infighting between Patrick and Straus, Blakemore says this year’s primary results show nearly unanimous support for some of Patrick’s other priorities.
Blakemore notes that 94% of GOP voters support a Senate version of a bill intended to provide property tax relief, and 95% support a measure to make mail ballot fraud a felony. And 85% of Republicans would like to change how the Speaker of the House is picked.
“Far from ‘hints of a civil war,’ in fact, there is strong agreement in the Republican Party of Texas on virtually every issue,” he said.