While Texas’ bathroom bill has been met with opposition by equal rights groups, it also received criticism from a surprising place—Republican House Speaker Joe Straus.
Straus previously blocked Senate Bill 6, which would have banned trans people from using facilities matching their gender identity and prohibited municipalities from enacting LGBT-rights ordinances, calling it “manufactured and unnecessary.”
Although state politicians kept attempting to get approval of SB6, which is similar to North Carolina’s infamously controversial HB2, Straus says it’s vital to push back against the proposal “in order to protect our economy from billions of dollars in losses and more importantly to protect the safety of some very vulnerable young Texans.”
Before the bill officially collapsed in May, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick attempted to restructure its language one last time, but Straus reportedly refused to even look at the new draft.
“I’m not a lawyer, but I am a Texan,” he said, as quoted in The New Yorker. “I’m disgusted by all this. Tell the lieutenant governor I don’t want the suicide of a single Texan on my hands.”
Straus also told the publication that he’s disheartened to watch the Republican Party become increasingly influenced by Christian ideologues and cultural concerns at the expense of economic issues.
“I can only do so much to keep the focus on fiscal issues and away from the divisive stuff,” he told The New Yorker. “A few loud and fanatical people occasionally unsettle the majority of Republicans, who are really mainstream.”