AUSTIN — Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, weighing into a national controversy over transgender restrooms, said Tuesday he supports keeping men out of women’s restrooms, even if it takes legislation to do so.
Since the issue erupted into controversy nationally, some Texas lawmakers have said they will support a state law for single-sex restrooms, and the endorsement of that position by Senate-leader Patrick is likely to give that movement momentum.
“I think the handwriting is on the bathroom wall: Stay out of the ladies’ room if you’re a man,” Patrick said outside his Capitol office, confirming a post on his Facebook page that affirmed his opposition to cross-sex restrooms.
“If it costs me an election, if it costs me a lot of grief, then so be it. If we can’t fight for something this basic, then we’ve lost our country.”
Controversy over the issue recently blew up in North Carolina after lawmakers approved a bill that required transgender people to use the restroom that corresponds to the sex listed on their birth certificate, not the one they currently identify with.
Similar legislation has been filed in South Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi, Minnesota and other states.
It became an issue in the GOP presidential race last week when Texas Sen. Ted Cruz said men should be kept out of women’s restrooms, and front-runner Donald Trump said people should be allowed to go in whichever restroom they feel comfortable.
Patrick, who last year along with Gov. Greg Abbott and other GOP officials supported the repeal of a Houston ordinance on transgender restrooms, dismissed threats of boycotts and business opposition in other states as “bluff and bluster.” he noted that since Houston repealed its so-called HERO ordinance, by a wide margin in an election, the city has hosted the Final Four basketball championships and will host the Super Bowl in 2017.
“This issue is so clear and simple that it defies belief,” he said. “Do they really want a man walking into a restroom with their daughter or mother or wife? . . . Have we gone to far in the world of political correctness that we’ve forgotten common sense, common decency.”