According to a report from The Texas Observer the Human Rights Campaign says it’s probably not going to help defend the embattled Equal Rights Ordinance. ordinance recently passed in Plano, TX because according to HRC it’s transphobic citing that an exemption that would bar trans individuals from using restrooms, according to their gender identity but would provide protections for them and LGBT citizens in the area of housing and employment discrimination.
HRC’s Cathryn Oakley told the Observer:
“The language in Plano is very problematic and in terms of investing a lot of resources in an ordinance that has a lot of problems, it’s difficult to see why that’s necessarily the best use of resources. If we had been consulted in the drafting of this bill, we would have withdrawn our support, and given that, it’s hard to justify defending it as valid. ..
“I think the story coming out of Plano is about a city that really wanted to do the right thing, and I wish that this had unfolded differently, because I think that there were good intentions, but things fell apart. I think incremental process is important, I think municipal work is incredibly important, but incremental doesn’t mean leaving part of the community behind. That’s not an acceptable version of incremental.”
This week, opponents of the ordinance turned in over 7,000 signatures on petitions to repeal it — more than double the number needed to put it on the ballot. Equality Texas a local LGBT group say they’ll defend the ordinance without HRC’s help despite the “bathroom exemption” because it is a step in the right direction.
The bathroom issue will always be touchy for many hetro-normative people. Is HRC making the right decision not helping to fight for this EO that would help all LGBT citizens in Plano, Texas from being discriminated against for housing and employment because the trans community would not be able to use the restrooms of their current gender status?
It turns out there are some big ‘ole 18 wheeler truck sized loopholes having to do with “religious freedom” in Plano, Texas’ just approved LGBT Rights ordinance that everyone is crowing about that makes it almost virtually worthless. (Which is probably why it passed by such a huge margin)
According to the revised ordinance, discrimination based on a resident’s sexual orientation or gender identity is prohibited in regards to public accommodation, employment, housing transactions and city contracting. However, religious and political groups as well as nonprofit organizations are exempt from the ordinance.
City Attorney Paige Mims said the ordinance also includes a waiver process for businesses to be exempt if the owners feel the policy would not allow them to conduct business based on their personal faith. Individuals and organizations found in noncompliance to the ordinance would be charged with a Class C misdemeanor, the least severe class of misdemeanor. While the ordinance does make it illegal to discriminate against gender identity in a public place, Mims said that would not extend to public restrooms and locker rooms which would still be segregated based on physical anatomy.
“We realize that privacy interests need to be balanced with equality interests,” Mims said at the meeting. “We took a lot of care to look at constitutional issues and freedoms that people have that are protected under the law … We’ve recognized in this ordinance that due process needs to be allowed and if people do have those [religious] defenses, they’re required under law to give the city notification … and we’re going to evaluate that.”
So all businesses large and small have to do is say “it’s against my personal faith” and they can get a waiver to legally discriminate and be a bigot. And of course non-profits are exempted, and all religious institutions and organizations. Andd trans folks still can’t use public restrooms.
But gee, it did look swell on paper. As long as no one read it.