After a blistering defeat in 2017, conservative Republican lawmakers are poised to try again to fight against transgender restroom use and same-sex marriage in the Lone Star State.
While speaking at the forum sponsored by the Christian public policy advocate group Texas Values, lawmakers showed their support for once again tacking these two social conservative chestnuts.
“The only way that you fail is to not try,” said state Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, showing support to revive their previously failed bills against the transgender community.
Kolkhorst’s bills failed to pass the full assembly last year, even after the legislature ended up in a special session in an attempt to force the bills through.
The lawmakers, who were unsuccessful in past sessions, say that they feel the time might be right for success. Especially given the overall climate under the Trump and Pence administration toward “religious liberty” in the wake of an unprecedented string of socially conservative judges being appointed in recent months.
“We should be able to get something signed, and because of the favorable climate in the judiciary, I think it will be upheld as well,” said State Rep. Matt Krause at the summit.
They also point to the pending retirement of Texas Republican house speaker Joe Straus. Straus, who is moderate, has often thwarted hard-right conservative actions.
During last year’s session, the fight against transgender restroom access was largely spearheaded by Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick.
While Patrick felt the bill was so necessary to the state’s business that he forces a special legislative session, it was Straus who viewed the bill as a “distraction” from more important work.
Conservatives plan on retooling some of these efforts, focusing on transgender students and their public accommodation access. They also plan to refocus “religious liberty” legislation to curtail same-sex marriage access and benefits.
The event was the Texas Values’ first Texas Faith, Family and Freedom Forum. Organizers plan to host the event annually, but only managed to gain 200 attendees on the first go-round.