The Dallas City Council voted unanimously to slip “gender identity” transgender specific language into an existing LGBT anti-discrimination ordinance on Tuesday. Councilman Philip Kingston insist the changes are not a “bathroom bill,” even though the verbiage is alarmingly similar to the Houston equal rights ordinance that, less than a week ago, voters resoundingly rejected.
Houston’s Proposition 1 dubbed HERO (Houston Equal Rights Ordinance) would have allowed men to access women’s bathrooms, showers, and changing areas based on gender identification which Breitbart Texas’ Lana Shadwick covered comprehensively.
Dallas “gender identity” supporters maintain the new ordinance does not add or take away any protections. Others assert this is only a matter of paperwork. The City Council’s Quality of Life Committee Chair Sandy Greyson claims it is not a change to the existing 2002 ordinance under Chapter 46 of the Dallas City Code that already protects the transgender community, just a better definition of them. The committee gave their blessing on the ordinance, approving it on Monday.
Councilman Art Medrano, who heads up the city’s LGBT task force and wrote the policy’s language that passed by the full city council on March 5, 2014, said the new ordinance only clarifies that “a person’s gender is determined by the person’s own perception of their gender,” meaning real or perceived perception. Coupled with a revision that adds “or gender identity and expression” to the City’s definition of discrimination, Medrano claims will provide greater anti-discrimination protections for the transgender community.
WFAA-8 called Tuesday’s city council ordinance a “version of the controversial issue that Houston voters defeated in a vote last week,” reporting one of the changes Medrano made was to remove an exception for the ordinance that he said allowed for rental housing discrimination “in which all rooms are leased, subleased, or rented only to persons of the same sex, when the dwelling contains common lavatory, kitchen, or similar facilities available for the use of all persons occupying the dwelling.”
Still, Mayor Mike Rawlings commented in support of the ordinance after the vote, saying Dallas is “very diverse, and we want to make sure everyone is protected.”
As the news broke about the ordinance, so did concern that the Dallas City Council voted in their own “bathroom bill.” Texas Values Action President Jonathan Saenz issued a statement, highlighting the City Council approved the controversial language “in a closed door meeting late last night, without public input…” adding that the Council approved “new and sweeping language” on Tuesday that is over 10 pages long.
“The language is strikingly similar to the same ‘gender identity’ and ‘public accommodations’ language contained in the defeated Houston law that relates to bathroom, locker rooms, and shower rooms,” noted Saenz. He tweeted that the ordinance was “fast-tracked” and passed without proper notice or a public hearing.”
Dallas City Council fast-tracked & passed bathroom bill without proper notice! Call them @ 214-670-4050 or msg @ https://t.co/xOcSB1Nq77
— Texas Values (@txvalues) November 10, 2015
“Creating law behind closed doors and forcing it onto the people the next morning is a recipe for disaster,” Saenz also stated. He called the City Council’s actions “Obama and D.C. style tactics” that will not work in Texas, adding “Get ready for a Texas-sized response.”
The Texas Pastors Council likened the Dallas ordinance to a “bottomless Pandora’s Box” because of its nebulous definition of “gender identity and expression “to mean an individual’s real or perceived gender identity as male, female, both, or neither.” They underscored that the ordinance also defines “place of public accommodation” to include any inn, hotel, restaurant, cafeteria, lunchroom, motion picture house, theatre, concert hall, retail or wholesale establishment selling goods or services.”
Council President Rev. Dave Welch said the ordinance: “Not only opens but essentially removes the doors of women’s restrooms, showers and locker rooms in Dallas, as well as criminalizes businesses, employees as well as eventually, churches who attempt to keep men out.”
Texas Values Action dubbed the ordinance a “threat to safety and freedom” that allows the government to fine private small business owners $500. Dallas residents voted 77 percent in favor of a charter amendment to add the terms “sexual orientation” and “gender identity and expression” to the list of protections for city employees” last November, according to the Dallas Morning News.
This morning, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick weighed in on the Dallas “Bathroom Ordinance,” sharply criticizing the actions taken by the Dallas City Council on Tuesday. In a statement obtained by Breitbart Texas, Patrick said:
I was very proud to help lead the recent effort where an overwhelming majority of voters in Houston successfully voted down the misnamed and misguided HERO ordinance that was last week. That’s why yesterday’s decision by the Dallas City Council, in closed session, to fast-track the enactment of a similar ordinance to allow men in women’s restrooms is both mind-boggling and appalling.
This ordinance isn’t about discrimination, it’s about political correctness – and Dallas city leaders have put political correctness ahead of both common sense and common decency. The facts are clear. No woman wants a man to be allowed in a ladies restroom or locker room, no matter the reason. And no man wants his wife, daughter, mother, or sister to be forced by law to contend with such an uncomfortable, disruptive, and potentially dangerous intrusion.
This ludicrous ordinance, like the one in Houston, reveals officials who are totally out of touch with Texas values, I have no doubt that if this issue is put to the voters, as opposed to being decided without adequate public notice and discussion, the people of Dallas – like those in Houston – will give it a resounding no.
A statement from the Dallas District Attorney’s Office noted, in part: “With this change, the definitions of ‘sexual orientation’ and ‘gender identity and expression’ in Chapter 46 now match the definitions in the city’s personnel rules.”
State Sen. Don Huffines (R-Dallas) tweeted the new Dallas LGBT ordinance should be reconsidered since it passed the City Council without being “reviewed or thoughtfully considered by the public.” A few critics, ordinance supporters, responded to several of his remarks by saying “Go f*ck yourself” and “Moron.” Kingston accused Huffines of lying.
Repeal Dallas’ new LGBT ordinance immediately. It was not reviewed or thoughtfully considered by the public. — Don Huffines (@DonHuffines) November 10, 2015
This article has been updated to include a statement from Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick.
Follow Merrill Hope on Twitter @OutOfTheBoxMom.