Texas Speaker of the House Joe Strauss

David TaffetI’m getting a little annoyed with every national advocacy organization you can imagine sending out the same message:

“SB6, the Texas bathroom bill, is advancing. Call your state representatives and tell them the bill is terrible and opposed by law enforcement and business groups. Oh, and send us money, because that’s really the only way to stop this bill.”

Hey national organizations, we know you hate this bill. We hate this bill.

But you know who else really hates this bill? Speaker of the House Joe Straus.

And you know who the only person is who can put a bill on the agenda of the Texas House of Representatives? Speaker of the House Joe Straus.

Oh, and you know who told some whining Dallas Republican representatives who also don’t like the bill but are afraid to be the only Republicans voting against the bill to shut up and vote against the bill together? Speaker of the House Joe Straus.

Here’s a tidbit from an email I received from Freedom for All Americans (an organization I never heard of until I got this solicitation letter):

“Last week, the Texas Senate voted to pass SB6, an anti-transgender, anti-business bill that would ban transgender people from using restrooms in government buildings, public schools and universities.

“That’s right. Texas is closer than ever to passing a bill that’s nearly identical to HB 2, legislation that has cost North Carolina billions of dollars in investment and ruined its national reputation.”

Well, yes, we’re closer to passing SB6 than we ever have been because it passed the Senate. Here’s the thing about passing a bill in Texas that they’re leaving out: It still has to go to the House, where Speaker of the House Joe Straus, who hates this bill, has to assign it to a committee, before it could ever become law.

Here’s a funny thing about the Texas Legislature: To elect a speaker, every member of the House votes. And every Democrat voted for Joe Straus, even though he’s a Republican.

So to say thank you, Straus appointed some Democrats to chair committees. He might just bury the bathroom bill in a committee chaired by a Democrat.

That’s what he did with the anti-LGBT bills that popped up last session, and most of those bills died. The rest of them never made it to the floor. Why? Because Speaker of the House Joe Straus hates all of these bigoted bills.

So while SB6 sailed through the Senate, which is headed by an extremist bigot called Dan Patrick, it’s not going to sail through the House.

On the opening day of this legislative session, Straus promised his chamber would deal with issues that affect Texans — things like funding education, transportation problems, mental health issues.

And so far, what has the House spent its time doing? It’s been dealing with things like funding education, transportation problems, mental health issues.

Why? Because Speaker of the House Joe Straus simply doesn’t care where people pee and he does care about funding education and solving traffic problems.

So national organizations, please remind your constituents to continue to oppose SB6 as well as other terrible anti-LGBT measures. But stop spreading panic. And stop trying to fund your national operations by spreading panic in Texas.             

David Taffet is senior staff writer for Dallas Voice and co-host of Lambda Weekly, the LGBT radio program that airs each Sunday at 1 p.m. on 89.3 KNON-FM. Contact him at

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 24, 2017.