Raising concerns about legislation targeting LGBTQ people, a group of leading corporations is urging Texas lawmakers to focus instead on urgent issues involving the pandemic, electric grid and education.
“We are concerned to see a resurgence of efforts to exclude transgender youth from full participation in their communities, to criminalize or ban best-practice medical care that is proven to save lives, or to exclude LGBTQ people in a variety of other settings,” the corporations said in a statement issued Monday.
“Such legislation would send a message that is at odds with the Texas we know, and with our own efforts to attract and retain the best talent and to compete for business,” said the statement, signed by 41 corporations based or doing business in Texas.
Those corporations included Amazon, American Airlines, Apple, Dell Technologies, Facebook, IBM, Levi Strauss, Marriott International, Microsoft and Silicon Labs.
“We have long strived to make our workplaces safe and welcoming for everyone we employ. But the fullness of our team members’ lives, and the lives of their families, stretch well beyond the workplace,” the statement said. “They deserve to feel safe, welcome, and treated with dignity in those settings, too.”
The Texas Senate has approved Senate Bill 29, banning “biological males” — as determined by their original birth certificate — from competing in girls sports in public high schools and grade schools. A House committee is set to hold a public hearing on a similar bill Tuesday.
More: NCAA warns state lawmakers against limiting transgender sports participation
In addition, a House committee has approved House Bill 1399, banning gender-affirming medical care for those 17 and younger, including reversible puberty blockers as well as surgical procedures and hormone treatments.
The statement was released under the letterhead of Texas Competes, a group of business leaders that promotes inclusion and has identified about two dozen bills that it says target LGBTQ Texans.
Their statement marked the second time this legislative session that businesses took a stand against a Republican priority.
In early April, American Air, Dell and Microsoft issued separate statements condemning GOP bills directed at voting practices. Republicans say stronger voter fraud laws are needed to improve election integrity and bolster flagging trust among voters, while Democrats and civil rights groups say the effort is a bid to suppress voting rights in service of the “big lie” — that Donald Trump lost the 2020 election due to fraud.
The three large Texas businesses lined up with Democrats in condemning the effort, prompting a strong rebuke from Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, a Republican who presides over the Texas Senate and — like Gov. Greg Abbott — made voting integrity a priority this session.
“Texans are fed up with corporations that don’t share our values trying to dictate public policy,” he said.
Nationally, Major League Baseball laid down a marker in the voting rights fight by moving this summer’s All-Star Game and draft from Atlanta after Georgia tightened voting laws earlier this year.
“Fair access to voting continues to have our game’s unwavering support,” baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said April 2.
The NCAA also has warned states contemplating limits on transgender athletes that they risk losing championship events, which can pump millions of dollars into local economies.
This article originally appeared on Austin American-Statesman: Corporations ask Legislature to drop bills targeting LGBT Texans