DALLAS (CN) – The Dallas Stars hockey club announced its opposition Wednesday to Texas’ “bathroom bill” that would require transgender people to use public facilities matching their biological sex, becoming the first professional sports team to do so.
Team president and CEO Jim Lites said Dallas “was warm and welcoming” when the National Hockey League team moved from Minnesota 25 years ago.
“The Dallas Stars stand strongly opposed to any legislation perceived as discriminatory, including proposed bathroom legislation,” Lites said in a written statement. “We welcome fans from all over the globe, and our roster boasts players from half a dozen countries. Dallas welcomes all, and we welcome all.”
Lites noted the city was selected to host the NHL’s draft next year, and the league “sees the true Dallas” that is friendly and vibrant.
“We are proud of our home and want every visitor to feel at home here, too, and that’s why we oppose this discriminatory bathroom legislation,” he said.
Currently under consideration by a special session of the Texas Legislature, Senate Bill 3 would restrict the use of bathrooms, showers and changing rooms in public schools and government buildings to facilities matching a person’s sex as recorded on his or her birth certificate or on state-issued identification cards.
Critics of the bill say it legalizes discrimination against transgender people and is based on fear and hatred. Supporters contend the law is necessary to protect the safety and privacy of women and children from predators and voyeurs.
Several versions of the “bathroom bill” failed to pass during the legislature’s regular session this year. Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott listed it as one of his priorities when he called for the special session that is scheduled to end on Aug. 16.
No other professional sports team in Texas has publicly voiced opposition to the proposal, although some team owners have personally expressed views against it.
Houston Texans owner Bob McNair told the Houston Chronicle in March he doubted it would pass and that the state does not need it.
“There’s opposition in the House,” he told the newspaper. “I think there are other things more important going on in the world.”
Dallas Mavericks owner and TV personality Mark Cuban told the Dallas Morning News last month that the debate over the “bathroom bill” has yet to damage Dallas or Texas, but that it is a “different story” if the bill passes.
“We can only use the excuse of having crazy, entertaining state politicians who are merely a sideshow for so long,” he said.
In February, the National Football League and National Basketball Association warned Texas that passage of a “bathroom bill” would negatively impact the likelihood of the state being selected for major events in the future.