DALLAS (CN) — Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton warned Target that its policy of allowing transgender people to use restrooms and fitting rooms corresponding to their gender identity “could lead to criminal and otherwise unwanted activity.”
Target announced its policy on April 19 after North Carolina made headlines by passing a law that requires transgender people to use public bathrooms conforming with the gender on their birth certificate.
The Department of Justice warned North Carolina its law violates federal civil rights laws and could cost it federal education funding. The Justice Department gave Republican Gov. Pat McCrory until today, Monday, to respond to its warning. North Carolina responded by suing the Justice Department this morning.
Paxton wrote to Target on May 3, telling the Minnesota-based retailer that it is “currently free to choose such a policy” for its Texas stores. However, Paxton added: “The voters in Houston recently repealed by a wide margin an ordinance that advanced many of the same goals as Target’s current policy.
Paxton’s letter continues: “The Texas Legislature may at some point in the future address the issue. Regardless of whether Texas legislates on this topic, it is possible that allowing men in women’s restrooms could lead to criminal and otherwise unwanted activity. As chief lawyer and law enforcement officer for the State of Texas, I ask that you provide the full text of Target’s safety policies regarding the protection of women and children from those who would use the cover of Target’s restroom policy for nefarious purposes.”
Houston’s Equal Rights Ordinance, which voters rejected in November last year, would have banned discrimination based on gender, sexual orientation, race, age, disability and other grounds, in line with federal antidiscrimination laws.
Opponents argued that it would allow predators posing as transgender people to enter women’s bathrooms.
Within days of the repeal, the Dallas City Council strengthened the protections for gender identity and gender expression in its anti-discrimination ordinance.
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said at the time that Dallas is “a very diverse city” and “we want to make sure everyone is protected.”
Last week the Rockwall City Council in suburban Dallas rejected the first proposed “bathroom bill” ordinance in Texas that mirrored restrictions in the North Carolina law. No one on the council seconded Republican Mayor Jim Pruitt’s motion for a vote, killing the proposal.
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