- The Washington Times - Friday, February 10, 2017

If Texas lawmakers pass a “bathroom bill” regulating public facilities on the basis of biological sex, this year’s Super Bowl may be the last the state hosts for a long time, the National Football League is warning.

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said any laws that go against the league’s values will be a factor in determining where to play the championship game.

“If a proposal that is discriminatory or inconsistent with our values were to become law (in Texas), that would certainly be a factor considered when thinking about awarding future events,” McCarthy told the Houston Chronicle Friday in response to a question about the proposed Texas law.

Texas lawmakers are currently considering the Texas Privacy Act, which would regulate public restrooms, locker rooms and other facilities on the basis of biological sex.

“The people of Texas elected us to stand up for common decency, common sense and public safety,” Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said in a statement announcing the legislation last month. “This legislation codifies what has been common practice in Texas and everywhere else forever — that men and women should use separate, designated bathrooms.”

The NBA and NCAA have pulled sporting events out of North Carolina in response to similar legislation passed there, costing the state as much as $250 million in lost revenue.

“The NFL embraces inclusiveness,” McCarthy said. “We want all fans to feel welcomed at our events, and NFL policies prohibit discrimination based on age, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, or any other improper standard.”

This year’s Super Bowl was hosted in Houston — a city where voters in 2015 overwhelmingly voted down an ordinance that would have permitted restroom and locker room use on the basis of gender identity. That provision was backed by then-Mayor Annise Parker — one of the first openly gay mayors of a major U.S. city — but failed at the ballot box 61 to 39 percent.

Transgender-rights activists unsuccessfully called for the NCAA to pull the “Final Four” out of Houston in response to the ordinance’s defeat.

The next four Super Bowls are scheduled to be played in Minneapolis, Atlanta, Miami and Los Angeles. Dallas hosted the game in 2011 and three Super Bowls have been played in Texas since 2004, second only to Florida.

The Obama administration accelerated the transgender rights movement by reinterpreting Title IX federal legislation to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex to apply to gender identity.

In an edict that has since been blocked in federal court, the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights last year threatened to pull federal funding from public schools nationwide if they did not permit students to use the facilities of the sex with which they identify.

Patrick, who backs the Texas bathroom bill, signaled after the NFL statement that his support remains firm and that he is committed to “making sure that every Texas is welcomed” at sporting events.

“Despite persistent misinformation in the media, under Senate Bill 6, all Texas teams will be able to set their own policies at the stadiums and arenas where they play and hold their events. There is no conflict with the NFL’s statement today and Senate Bill 6,” Patrick spokesman Alejandro Garcia said.

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