Bathroom Bill Epilogue: Four Takeaways
Over the last 10 days, amidst the many embarrassing assaults on equality coming from the White House, we celebrated one small victory in Texas. The special session of the Texas Legislature came to a close without the passage of any of the various Bathroom Bills that Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick had tried to push through.
Four important takeaways from the failures of this shameful effort to legalize discrimination.
1) The Tech Industry Has Got to Stay Involved. Many of the small and large businesses involved in the effort to defeat this legislation came from the tech sector, a relative newcomer in Lone Star politics. These organizations need to remain actively engaged in the process to fight the next wave of misguided policies when Texas lawmakers re-convene in 2019.
2) In Person Still Beats Virtual. While I am proud of the many Medium posts that I wrote about the need to oppose these Bathroom Bills, what ultimately mattered a lot more was voicing an opinion to Legislators at the State Capitol building in a face-to-face setting. Like it or not, in person still matters most to a lot of these politicians.
3) Joe Straus is a Rock Star. Correct that the involvement of a significant number of concerned businesses was a big factor in derailing SB6. But these efforts might not have mattered had Speaker of the House Straus not been so steadfast in his opposition. Donate a few dollars to the re-election campaign of this moderate Republican to show your appreciation for his refusal to compromise on this issue.
4) The War on Where to Pee Has Just Begun. While these Bathroom Bills are dead for now, its entirely likely they will return again for the next legislative session in two years. As per Larry Wright’s recent 40-page essay in the New Yorker, the ascension of social conservatives in Texas isn’t going away anytime soon.
Hugh Forrest serves as Chief Programming Officer at SXSW, the world’s most unique gathering of creative professionals. He also tries to write at least four paragraphs per day on Medium. These posts often cover tech-related trends; other times they focus on books, pop culture, sports and other current events.