Why so many Texas small businesses are upset about a potential transgender bathroom law

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(This post originally appeared on The Washington Post)

Do you remember back in March when North Carolina passed a law requiring people to use a bathroom that coincided with the sex they were at birth?  Remember how upset people were about this attack on transgender rights? Remember how huge companies like PayPal and Deutsche Bank reversed their expansion plans in the state?  Remember how not only celebrities from Bruce Springsteen and Maroon 5 cancelled concerts there, but the NCAA pulled seven championship events from the state, including the opening-weekend men’s basketball tournament games next year?

Many small businesses in Texas remember – and they don’t want this happening in their state.

As reported in My Statesman, more than 200 small businesses sent an open letter to local legislators protesting the state’s plans to regulate bathrooms there.

“[W]e oppose any Texas legislation – broad or narrow – that would legalize discrimination against any group,” the letter said. “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.”

The pending legislation is being championed by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) and meant to protect the privacy of women who may feel threatened by a transgender “man” from using their bathrooms and leave them exposed to potential sexual predators.  Patrick and other lawmakers in the state also want to provide protections for people and businesses that refuse to serve or sell to gay couples. One state representative is even seeking to amend the state’s constitution to allow business owners the right to refuse services to people whose lifestyles clash with their religious beliefs.

Business people are worried this will cost their state as much as it cost North Carolina (the NCAA is scheduled to bring its tournament there in 2018) which is why the Texas Association of Business called for opposition to those bills that are discriminatory and would hurt the economy.

“Texas has always been a place of fierce independence and a great big pioneering spirit,” said business owner David Wyatt in the My Statesman report. “Companies, voters and political donors won’t stand for legislators dictating government overreach into individual liberties.”

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