Bad PR, Bad Policy: Texas Gets Ripped Over Bathroom Bill, and the Spotlight Is About to Get Much Brighter

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has given Texas a black eye. The question is how much more damage is still to come over his bathroom bill?Patrick’s full-throated support for the proposal is tarnishing the Texas brand and threatening the tourism business. Some big events have given notice that they’ll cancel and go elsewhere if the bill becomes law. Others are delaying commitments until the issue is settled. The spotlight is about to get much brighter, too. In early February, the Super Bowl will be in Houston and in late March, the women’s Final Four will be in Dallas. If Patrick pushes the bathroom bill through the Senate by then, as expected, there will be a lot of unflattering stories.For a taste of things to come, consider Monday’s subhead in The Economist: “In the toilet.”How about this comment from a writer at The New York Daily News: “We probably should have stopped playing big-time sports in Texas a long time ago because gay rights have been under siege in Texas for decades.”Then there’s Rick Riordan, the Texan who wrote the Percy Jackson & the Olympians series. After the bathroom bill was filed last week, he turned down an offer to attend a celebration of authors by the Texas Legislature.“If they want to honor me, they could stop this nonsense,” Riordan wrote on Twitter.Senate Bill 6, championed by Patrick, would restrict bathroom use by a person’s “biological sex.” It also would ban local cities, including Dallas and Austin, from having trans bathroom protections in their anti-discrimination ordinances.  Continue reading...

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