The LGBT lobby has been in full-throttle since a conservative Texas state representative filed bills which would undermine its agenda. The Washington, D.C., based LGBT advocacy group has flooded Rep. Debbie Riddle (R-Tomball) with public information requests seeking all communications of any sort with pastors, faith organizations, and others – in all, 43 conservative and religious groups and individuals.
LGBT advocates have been hot since the state representative filed a bill which would simplify where one could lawfully use the bathroom in Texas. The bill was designed to address controversial city ordinances, such as the HERO ordinance in Houston, which would open bathrooms, showers, and dressing facilities to all, regardless of gender, gender identity, or gender expression. The bill would have criminalized entering a shower or toilet facility designated for the opposite sex, as reported by Breitbart Texas.
Rep. Debbie Riddle’s bill would have made it a Class A misdemeanor for a person of the opposite gender who is 13 years or older to enter facilities that are designated for use by persons of the opposite sex. The bill would have also made it a state jail felony offense for an operator, manager, superintendent, or other person with authority over a “building” to allow an individual who is 7 years or older to repeatedly enter facilities designated for persons of the opposite gender. “Building” was defined under the bill as “a public building, schoolhouse, theater, filling station, tourist court, bus station, or tavern.”
Under House Bill 1748, “gender” is designated as “the gender established at the individual’s birth or the gender established by the individual’s chromosomes.” A male is defined as “an individual with at least one X chromosome and at least one Y chromosome.” A female is defined as “an individual with at least one X chromosome and no Y chromosomes.” The “Bathroom Bill” further provided that “If an individual’s gender established at the individual’s birth is not the same as the individual’s gender established by the individual’s chromosomes, the individual’s gender established by the individual’s chromosomes controls.” It would have been a defense to prosecution under this law if an individual entered the locker room, or shower or toilet facility for a custodial purpose, to render medical assistance, or to accompany a child younger than eight years of age and of a gender that is not the same sex as the individual’s gender.
Another bill by the state representative from Tomball, HB 1747, would have made it a criminal offense to enter the public restroom that is designated by a sign for members of the opposite sex. A person’s sex was defined as that listed on a person’s drivers license or personal identification card issued by the state of Texas or another state. The offense did not apply to an adult accompanying a child.
Rep. Riddle was also an author of H.B. 3567, a bill that protects the rights of certain religious organizations and individuals when refusing to perform or to recognize a gay marriage, as reported by Breitbart Texas.
A group that calls itself “The Campaign for Accountability” (CFA) made the extensive and intrusive request for information to the state representative.
As reported by Empower Texans, a member of CFA’s advisory board, Robin Brand, is the former Deputy Executive Director of the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund. When Brand became the Deputy Executive Director of the Fund, she released a statement saying, “I’m proud to be able to help lead one of the most effective LGBT organizations in the country.” She added, “I look forward to working with some courageous candidates, LGBT officeholders and the Victory staff to help achieve this vital mission.” Brand specifically named Houston Mayor Annise Parker who was the force behind the HERO bathroom ordinance. Brand was also reported to have assisted in marriage equality propositions in California and Maine.
The request sent by the foundation to Rep. Riddle “seeks records of any kind, regardless of format, including paper records, electronic records, audiotapes, videotapes, calendars, and photographs.”
It asks for “copies of all communications, electronic or otherwise, from January 1, 2013, to the present” between Rep. Riddle “and/or between any of your legislative staff and the following individuals, organizations, and email addresses” and the 43 conservative individuals and groups.
Included in these groups and individuals are: Focus on the Family; Family Research Council; Heritage Foundation; Kelly Shackelford and the Liberty Institute; The Rutherford Institute; Rev. Dave Welch and the US Pastor Council; Catholic Charities USA; Christian Legal Society, Center for Law & Religious Freedom; Concerned Women for America; National Organization for Marriage; Texas Catholic Conference; Texas Eagle Forum and Cathie Adams; United States Conference of Bishops; Jonathan Saenz and Texas Values; among others.
Rep. Riddle told Breitbart Texas, “My first priority is, and has always been, the safety and security of the people of Texas, especially the women and children. They must come first, top priority. To appease a few and to allow the LGBT community to be successful in their agenda, and have men be able to go into women’s public restrooms, locker rooms, and showers, puts women and children at risk. Pedophiles could possible see this as an open door invitation with disastrous results. I will continue my fight on this issue. It is common sense and common decency.”
During the session, the conservative representative from Tomball had LGBT advocates flood her office, including a man with a beard wearing a dress. Riddle told Breitbart Texas that a glitter bomb was also sent to her office. She said while the glitter bomb took her staff hours to clean up, the bomb was intended to intimidate her and her staff because it implied that perhaps something more serious could have made its way into her chambers.
Rev. Dave Welch, and the US Pastor Council which is based in Houston, was instrumental in defeating the Houston bathroom ordinance. He and his pastors’ organization is named in the public information request. The group responded to the “harassment” of Rep. Debbie Riddle saying, “It is clear that the false front of ‘accountability’ this organization works behind is a thin veneer for an activist LGBT advocacy group that is now attempting to intimidate a Texas legislator for sponsoring legislation which would protect the privacy, safety and freedom of Texas women in particular,” said Rev. Welch on behalf of all pastor councils.”
“The silly assertion that these bills ‘would allow discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people,’ is simply the same kind of red herring that Mayor Parker attempted to sell Houston citizens.”
“Rep. Riddle’s bills, both of which unfortunately died in Rep. Byron Cook’s (R- Corsicana) State Affairs Committee, simply would have assured that men used men’s restrooms, showers and locker rooms, not women’s, as well as defining sex and gender appropriately as it is identified at birth,” the pastor added.
The Executive Director of the US Pastors Council concluded, “We will stand firmly with Rep. Riddle and other legislators who stand for decency, religious freedom and the rights of all people, not cater to a radical, tiny fragment defined by sexual behavior and gender confusion represented by Campaign for Accountability.”
On December 9, Breitbart Texas reported that the same advocacy group hit Houston city council members who opposed the “bathroom ordinance.” The group is seeking all communications of any sort between these six council members and pastors and faith organizations, and others – in all, 51 groups and individuals. LGBT advocates and Houston’s first openly gay mayor have been reeling since the defeat of the ordinance during Houston’s November elections. Houston voters came out in massive numbers and soundly rejected the proposition by a vote of 61 to 39 percent.
The City of Plano, Texas, passed a bathroom ordinance in December 2014 “prohibiting discrimination in places of public accommodation, employment practices, housing transactions and city contracting practices.” Breitbart Texas reported that critics claimed that the ordinance infringes on religious liberty and may allow men to use women’s bathrooms.
Lana Shadwick is a contributing writer and legal analyst for Breitbart Texas. She has served as an associate judge and prosecutor. Follow her on Twitter @LanaShadwick2