AUSTIN - Pastors from across Texas gathered at the Capitol Thursday to show their support for bathroom privacy legislation.
The rally and day of advocacy comes two days after about 300 people, including pastors from different denominations and religions, gathered at the Capitol to speak out against the bills.
The group that gathered Thursday said Senate Bill 3 by Senator Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenham) and House Bill 46 by Representative Ron Simmons (R-Carrollton) are common sense legislation that will protect the privacy of women. Senate Bill 3 will require people use multiple occupancy restrooms, showers and changing facilities according to the sex on their birth certificate or state issued ID in state and city owned buildings and public schools. House Bill 46 prohibits cities and schools from making policies regulating bathrooms, but makes no mention of sex or gender.
"There should be just some boundaries that we have," Senator Kolkhorst told the crowd.
"I am not scared to profess, to say that the Lord God saw it this way and I believe this is what we should do," she added.
"We do not want our 12-year-old boys and girls being forced to shower and change together in our schools," Representative Simmons said to the crowd. "How hard can that be? And yet when you talk about it, when you talk about it to the other side they wanna say well that's not happening.Well then fine, this bill won't be an issue when we pass it."
Once the group of about 150 people finished rallying, they went inside to meet with lawmakers and voice their support of the bill.
A few hours later, families of transgender Texans met with the president of the Human Rights Campaign inside a Capitol office to discuss how the bathroom bills would impact their lives.
"She wants to go back to school and there's nothing I can do to prevent what would happen to her if we were to go back," said Chelsa Morrison who's daughter is transgender.
Morrison said the school her 9-year-old daughter Marilyn used to attend refused to change her name in the school's system and constantly asked her about which restroom she was using. She explained her child was forced to use adult restrooms or the restroom in the nurse's office, which were sometimes on the opposite side of the campus. And that she was outed by school officials.
"God loves everyone. He doesn't just love people who aren't trans," said Marilyn.
"And I think that these legislators have forgotten that we all know they're using our kids as political pawns," Morrison added.
"Our collective message to Texas lawmakers is this, stop these hateful and shameful attacks against the very people that you were elected to serve and to protect," said Chad Griffin, President of the Human Rights Campaign.
Meanwhile, executives from 11 companies, including Frito-Lay, Neiman Marcus and JP Morgan Chase, sent a letter to the Governor Thursday stating their opposition to bathroom legislation.
So what's the status of the bathroom bills? Senator Kolkhorst's bill was passed by the Senate and sent to the House. It has not yet been assigned to a committee. The bill by Representative Simmons has been referred to a House Committee. A hearing on the bill hasn't been scheduled.
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