By all accounts, Houston did an amazing job hosting the 51st Super Bowl. To date, four Super Bowls have been played in Texas. Houston has hosted three (1974, 2004, 2017) and Dallas one (2011). With new, state-of-the-art stadiums, both cities are on the short list for future games. Yet, the NFL has announced that Texas is in jeopardy of never hosting another Super Bowl.
The National Football League has warned the state of Texas that if it passes a transgender bathroom law similar to the one passed in North Carolina last year, it would likely affect their chances of hosting future Super Bowls.
The league has spoken out against a bill currently being considered in the Texas legislature that would require people to use state-owned bathrooms, showers, and changing areas consistent with their biological sex. The Texas “bathroom bill” would prevent municipal and county governments from enacting local ordinances that require businesses and places of public accommodation to allow transgender individuals to use bathrooms consistent with their gender identity.
The bill was introduced in January by Republican Sen. Lois Kolkhorst of Brenham. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is actively pushing the legislation, and at least 15 Republican lawmakers have signed on as co-sponsors.
“The NFL embraces inclusiveness,” said spokesman Brian McCarthy in an email to the Houston Chronicle last week. “We want all fans to feel welcomed at our events and NFL policies prohibit discrimination based on age, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, or any other improper standard.”
McCarthy added, “If a proposal that is discriminatory or inconsistent with our values were to become law in Texas, that would certainly be a factor considered when thinking about awarding future events.”
Patrick’s office has offered a quick response, saying that the bill in no way forces NFL stadiums to keep transgender individuals out of the bathrooms they want to use and he asserted that the state is dedicated to “making sure that every Texan is welcomed.”
The Texas bill comes after former Houston mayor Annise Parker led an effort to pass a transgender bathroom ordinance that forced places of public accommodation to allow transgender individuals to use bathrooms, locker rooms, and showers consistent with their gender identity.
The HERO ordinance, opposed by a coalition of 400 Houston area churches that stood in disapproval of the ordinance, caused public uproar.
The ordinance was later struck down after enough signatures were obtained to force a referendum vote. By a large margin, Houston residents voted against the ordinance on November, 2015.
“We proved that these ordinances create unequal rights for a tiny few who are broken and hurting, and that, instead of pointing them toward hope and healing, trample on the safety, privacy, and freedom of our women and children,” said Willie Davis, a member of the Houston Area Pastor’s Council.
About the Author
Samuel Smith is a writer for the Christian Post, based in Washington, D.C. He covers cultural and religious issues from an intentionally Christian worldview.