Marcus Bachmann, I mean Don Huffines

Don’t you hate when Highland Park residents interfere in Dallas politics?

Dallas resident Keith Hobbs recently wrote to state Sen. Don Huffines, R-Highland Park, challenging his stance on the Dallas nondiscrimination ordinance.

The ordinance has been in place since 2002, but last week the Dallas City Council voted unanimously to fix some of the language. While gender identity has always been part of the ordinance, it was included as part of the definition of sexual orientation. Gender identity and sexual orientation were added to the city charter by a vote of 77 percent in 2014 after supporters expended exactly $0 campaigning for it.

Huffines has been making an ass of himself since the council’s vote last week, appearing at Dallas City Hall to speak (he’s not a Dallas resident and, therefore, has no right to address the council) and threatening to recall the ordinance.

He’s also threatening a bill that would prevent any Texas city from having a nondiscrimination ordinance.

Since Huffines won’t talk to Dallas Voice (and has blocked some of us on Twitter), here’s what Hobbs wrote to Huffines:

Mr. Huffines,

As a member of the LGBT community, or as you refer to us “a vocal minority,” I feel compelled to point out a few errors in your response to previous email. First, the ordinance does not create an imbalance—it does the opposite: it insures that all citizens are treated equally (in other words, LGBT people are not discriminated against). Second, NOTHING in this ordinance allows men to go to women’s bathrooms and this has not been a problem during the years this ordinance was in place. Third, this ordinance was debated 13 years ago when it was enacted. In addition, we modified our city charter to protect LGBT city employees last year by 75%. This is indicative of the fact that Dallas is a very fair-minded and accepting city that welcomes all its citizens. I sincerely hope you are not trying to change that.

I think you should talk to Adam Medrano on the Dallas City Council to get a better Idea of this ordinance and meet with Cece Cox at the Resource Center in Dallas to learn about an important constituent block that you represent.

Keith Hobbs

And the response from state Sen. Marcus Bachmann … uh, I mean Don Huffines. Notice Huffines keeps referring to the ordinance, which protects people in employment, housing and accommodations (hotel and car rentals, access to public spaces such as stores, restaurants and sports facilities) as the “bathroom bill.” There is no bathroom bill, so if he tries to repeal it, he’ll be repealing nothing. Or is he talking about the city charter? Who the hell knows:

Dear Mr. Hobbs:

Thank you for taking the time to contact me to voice your opinion about the City of Dallas non-discrimination ordinance, which is colloquially known as the “LGBT ordinance” or the “bathroom ordinance”. Active constituents like you, who engage with their state government on policy issues, help me to serve the constituents I represent more effectively.

My first priority as your State Senator is to serve the families and individuals who reside in the City of Dallas, and also the entirety of Senate District 16. That requires a balancing of interests. In the case of the City of Dallas LGBT ordinance, I have two specific concerns. First, the ordinance seemingly creates an imbalance in favor of a vocal minority, to the potential detriment of families (specifically women) and the prerogatives of business owners. Allowing men into women’s restrooms is very concerning from a policy standpoint, as is the definition of “perceived gender identity or expression” and what that means for law enforcement, our judiciary, and others. Second, regardless of when the substantive policy provisions were first enacted, I believe that the residents of Dallas deserve the opportunity to have a robust and respectful public debate and civil discourse on the ordinance and it’s potentially far-reaching repercussions.

I greatly appreciate you taking the time to contact my office. I am grateful to have served in the 84th Legislature and look forward to continuing to serve my constituents. Please do not hesitate to contact my office if you have any other concerns.

In Liberty and your employee

Don Huffines

State Senator