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Abbott Told Pastors To Push Texas House Members On 'Bathroom Bill'

Shelby Knowles for The Texas Tribune

Gov. Greg Abbott confirmed Tuesday he told pastors to pressure members of the Texas House to pass the so-called “bathroom bill.”

“These pastors were concerned about the possibility of no law passing that would protect the safety of women and children in bathrooms,” Abbott said in a radio interview with Dallas-Fort Worth station WBAP-AM host Chris Salcedo.

The Quorum Report yesterday quoted pastors who said Abbott urged them to pressure House members. One of the pastors, Robert Morris of Gateway Church in Southlake, told the newsletter that Abbott contacted him and nine other churches.

“They asked me if I would weigh in and make sure if we got something passed, and I said, ‘Well of course,’” Abbott told WBAP.

Senate Bill 6 would require people to use public restrooms that match the sex on their birth certificates — a measure critics say would discriminate against transgender people.

The Rev. David Wynn, a transgender man who is pastor of Agape Metropolitan Community Church in Fort Worth, testified against the bill at the state Capitol in March.

“When it’s said ... that the purpose of this bill is to go after sexual predators and it is a bill restricting a transgender person’s right to use the appropriate bathroom, I take that very personally because you are equating myself and my community with sexual predators,” he said.

The bill passed the Texas Senate in mid-March and was sent to the House, but it has not received a committee hearing since then. House Bill 2899, which some saw as an alternative to the “bathroom bill,” did not receive a committee hearing, either.

House Speaker Joe Straus said in a March interview with Jim Henson of the Texas Politics Project that the Senate bill was “manufactured and unnecessary.” Last month, Abbott called the House’s alternative bill a “thoughtful proposal.”

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