Texas small businesses oppose anti-transgender legislation

More than 200 Texas small businesses have signed an open letter asking legislators not to pass a law restricting usage of restrooms by transgender people.

We, the undersigned, are Texas small business owners. We are at the heart of the Texas economy, and of Texas communities. We come from industries and communities all over the state. We employ local people, we pay taxes, and we work hard to make a living and make a difference in the lives of our employees and customers.

That’s why we’re watching what’s unfolding in North Carolina with a growing sense of dread. Experts put economic damage from the discriminatory HB2 law at $395 million and rising. That damage is coming from the loss of corporate investments, talent, performances, sporting events, and conventions.

What’s not often talked about is that every single one of these losses impacts countless small businesses. Many of us rely on a thriving tourism economy. Many of us are the vendors that benefit when a bigger company creates jobs in our communities. These economic impact figures aren’t just numbers to us. They represent a direct threat to our ability to do business.

We love Texas and we’re proud to call it home. We want to continue to provide great jobs and great experiences for our employees and our customers. That’s why we oppose any Texas legislation – broad or narrow – that would legalize discrimination against any group. That kind of legislation doesn’t just go against our values to be welcoming to everyone, it jeopardizes the businesses we’ve worked so hard to create, and it threatens the jobs and livelihoods of everyday Texans.

We can’t afford the losses seen in North Carolina, Indiana, and elsewhere. We want Texas to stay open for business for everyone. In 2017, we hope our elected officials will remember the small business community when they go to work.

It would be great if the businessmen had more humanitarian motives, but hey...

Unveiled in San Antonio, home of the Final Four of the 2018 NCAA men’s basketball tournament, the letter was a direct response to Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s calls for legislation that he has dubbed the Women’s Privacy Act.

Transgender people have obviously been going into the ladies’ room for a long time, and there hasn’t been an issue that I know of.

But if laws are passed by cities and counties — or school districts — to allow men to go into a bathroom because of the way they feel, we will not be able to stop sexual predators from taking advantage of that law, like sexual predators take advantage of the internet.

--Lt. Gov. Patrick

Patrick and other leading Republicans also favor legislation that would provide legal protections for people and businesses refusing to serve gay couples or participate in same-sex marriages over religious objections.

Texas has always been a place of fierce independence and a great big pioneering spirit. Companies, voters and political donors won’t stand for legislators dictating government overreach into individual liberties.

--David Wyatt, Wyatt Brand

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