More than 50 Houston-based businesses, including many big oil and gas companies, on Monday joined several other business groups in urging Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to drop the state’s so-called bathroom bill.
The bill, passed by the Texas Senate earlier this month and now facing “an uphill battle in the House,” requires transgender people to use public restrooms corresponding with the gender they were assigned at birth. The law would apply to bathrooms in public schools, public universities and government buildings.
Such discriminatory policy, the business leaders wrote, is simply bad for business.
As members of Houston’s business community, we write to express our concern with the proposed ‘bathroom bill’ being considered in this special legislative session. We support diversity and inclusion, and we believe that any such bill risks harming Texas’ reputation and impacting the state’s economic growth and ability to create new jobs.
Innovative companies are driven by their people, and winning the talent recruitment battle is key. Any bill that harms our ability to attract top talent to Houston will inhibit our growth and continued success ― and ultimately the success or our great state.
The letter was signed by more than 50 business leaders, including those from Chevron, Exxon-Mobil, Halliburton, Shell and Dow Chemical.
Fourteen Dallas-based CEOs, including those from American Airlines and Southwest Airlines, sent a similar letter earlier this month, joining opposition by the Texas Association of Business and IBM. Several tech companies based outside the state, including Google, Apple and Facebook, have also spoken out against the legislation.
Abbott has voiced his support for the bill, while many LGBTQ rights activists and those affected by the bathroom bill have challenged it.
“Is this really the legacy you want?” Amber Briggle, whose 9-year-old transgender son, Max, was photographed crying outside Abbott’s office, asked of the governor when speaking to HuffPost about the viral photo last week.
“Look, North Carolina passed a bathroom bill. North Carolina voted for Trump. North Carolina had an incumbent Republican governor who lost his seat to a Democrat in November,” Briggle continued. “Are you sure you want to play this game, especially when you’re responsible for making little boys like Max cry?”
Last week, law enforcement officers from several police departments also spoke out against the bill, arguing that it “does nothing to make people safer” and “creates new complications for police officers” trying to protect transgender citizens.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story stated the bill would be sent to the governor to be signed. It must first pass the House.