Relations Reporting on marriage, family, and sexuality

‘Bathroom bill’ fails in Texas

Family | Two moderate Republicans scuttled the Texas Privacy Act
by Kiley Crossland
Posted 8/18/17, 02:47 pm

Efforts to pass a so-called “bathroom bill” in Texas failed this week when the legislature abruptly ended a 30-day special session with no vote on the measure.

Despite support among voters and legislators, the bill, titled the “Texas Privacy Act,” garnered a pack of big business opponents, including organizations like the NFL, Apple, Amazon, Exxon Mobile, and Hilton, who threatened retribution against the state if the bill passed.

The proposed legislation would have required transgender individuals to use the public restroom corresponding to their biological sex in schools and state buildings. North Carolina passed a similar law in 2016 but then partially repealed the measure due to public backlash.

Supporters argued the measure was about ensuring the safety of girls and women in showers, locker rooms, and restrooms.

Polls indicated they had wide voter support: An August survey commissioned by Texas Values, a pro-family advocacy group based in Austin, found nearly 80 percent of Republican voters backed the measure.

This week was the second time the bill failed in the Texas legislature. The first time, during the regular session in May, the more conservative Texas Senate rejected a watered-down version passed by the House that applied only to schools.

In this recent 30-day special session, two leaders in the House of Representatives, both moderate Republicans, blocked the bill from even going to a vote on the House floor, where it would have likely passed. House State Affairs Committee Chairman Byron Cook refused to schedule the bill for a hearing, and House Speaker Joe Straus said he would not put the bill up before the entire House because of potential significant harm to the state’s economy if opposing businesses followed through on their punitive promises.

But a widely circulated report by the Texas Association of Business about the billions of dollars and thousands of jobs the state would lose if it passed the bill included misinformation and numerical errors, according to Nicole Hudgens, a policy analyst for Texas Values. Reports also surfaced earlier this month that the group’s campaign to oppose the Texas Privacy Act was funded, in large part, by national LGBT advocacy groups, including the Gill Foundation and the Human Rights Campaign.

Hudgens also noted the hypocrisy of business leaders who tell the state to implement open policies regarding restrooms but don’t privately implement the same policies in their own businesses.

“We are not going to put our dollars over our daughters,” Hudgens said.

When asked about the future of “bathroom bills” in Texas and other states, Hudgens said the fight isn’t over: “Both sides agree this issue isn’t going away.”

Without a statewide decision on the matter, the issue will instead be decided at the city, county, and school-board level. And LGBT groups will continue to push policies that would allow boys into girls showers, locker rooms, and restrooms.

Hudgens hasn’t ruled out the possibility that Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a vocal supporter of the initiative, will call another special session to push a vote on the Texas Privacy Act.

“I wouldn’t be surprised,” she said.

Associated Press/Photo by Jacquelyn Martin Associated Press/Photo by Jacquelyn Martin James Mattis

About face, again?

Secretary of Defense James Mattis on Monday said the Pentagon is still studying the issue of allowing transgender individuals in the U.S. military. The statement came three weeks after President Donald Trump tweeted that the military would no longer allow transgender service members “in any capacity” and a week after two pro-LGBT organizations filed suit on behalf of five transgender service members challenging Trump’s proposed ban.

Mattis confirmed the military had received no direction from Trump on the issue and he and his staff were continuing to study the impact of transgender service members on military readiness.

“We are going to study the issue,” Mattis said. “The policy is going to address whether or not transgenders can serve under what conditions, what medical support they require, how much time would they be perhaps nondeployable, leaving others to pick up their share of everything.” Mattis added he was waiting for the president’s guidance, which he expected “very soon.”

At an Aug. 10 press conference, Trump did not back down on his tweet: “I think I’m doing a lot of people a favor by coming out and just saying it. … It’s been a very confusing issue for the military, and I think I’m doing the military a great favor.”

Without new orders from Trump and Mattis, Obama-era policy changes allowing transgender people to enlist in the military will go into effect Jan. 1, 2018. —K.C.

Associated Press/Photo by Rogelio V. Solis Associated Press/Photo by Rogelio V. Solis A 2012 teenage pregnancy prevention summit in Jackson, Miss.

Unexpected behavior

In the past few years, studies have consistently shown that gay and lesbian teens have higher pregnancy rates than their heterosexual peers. A 2015 study of Minnesota teens found bisexual females were five times more likely to have been pregnant than heterosexual females, and gay and “questioning” males were four times as likely to have gotten someone pregnant than heterosexuals.

Another study published earlier this spring was the first to specifically look at unintended pregnancies among “sexual minority women,” and found, again, that those rates were higher than among heterosexual women.

While LGBT advocates have blamed a lack of sex education and social stigma for the higher rates and insisted that heterosexual sex does not change a homosexual orientation, others are pushing back.

Glenn Stanton, the director for Family Formation Studies at Focus on the Family, recently said the data call into question the prevailing narrative that sexual orientation is fixed.

“Increasingly, communities and entire states are levying life-crushing penalties against individuals who refuse to get on board with certain sexual relationships. It’s assumed this dissent amounts to the rejection of people because of what they are,” Stanton said. “This research further demonstrates that the ‘this is what I am’ canard is precisely that.” —K.C.

Self-control across cultures

Rural Cameroonian children are good at the “marshmallow test,” much better than middle-class German children, according to a new study published in the journal Child Development.

For the study, 4-year-olds from middle-class families in Germany and a rural Cameroonian village were placed alone in a room with one marshmallow. They were told they could eat the one treat now or wait until the researcher returned 10 minutes later and get two marshmallows.

Researchers found that 70 percent of the Cameroonian preschoolers resisted eating one marshmallow for the promise of two marshmallows in contrast to only 28 percent of the German preschoolers. Of those who gave in, the Cameroonian children also waited more than three minutes longer on average.

The study’s authors also looked at the children’s families and chalked up the significant difference to parenting styles—a more hierarchical, community-centered style for the Cameroonian parents and a more autonomous, child-centered style for the German parents. —K.C.

Perseverance in marriage

A recent study confirms Biblical wisdom on marriage: Researchers found most people who stay married through hard times report a change of heart and are happy they did not separate.

The study surveyed 3,000 married American adults, ages 25-50, with 1 in 4 saying they contemplated divorce in the past six months. But when asked a year later, more than half of those studied felt significantly different.

“Marriage has its ebbs and flows,” concluded Adam Galovan, a family scientist at the University of Alberta and co-author of the study along with researchers at Brigham Young University. “A lot of them just need some time.”

The study also found that among those who were not currently contemplating divorce but had thought about it in the past, 90 percent were glad they stayed married. —K.C.

Kiley Crossland

Kiley reports on marriage, family, and sexuality for WORLD Digital. Follow Kiley on Twitter @KileyCrossland.

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  • socialworker
    Posted: Mon, 08/21/2017 08:45 am

    I hope the researchers in the self control study checked to see if the children from Cameroon even liked marshmallows.  Back in the 80's when churches were settling Vietnamese boat people, we found that neither they nor their children enjoyed food with sugar. could be that the whole of earth's people are sugarized by now.

  • Laura W
    Posted: Tue, 08/22/2017 10:04 am

    The linked article says they used "used a sweet popular with children in each of the two communities", not actually marshmallows. (The original study of this type was conducted with marshmallows, so that's how it got it's name.) But if a child knows he can ask his parents for another treat when he gets home, then it might actually be the rational decision not to wait in order to get that second treat slightly sooner. I'm guessing that condition is more likely to be true of the German children than the Nso children in Camaroon. There's more incentive to wait if that second treat really is going to be one more than they could have gotten otherwise.

  • JerryM
    Posted: Tue, 08/22/2017 07:25 pm

    If these corporations threaten retribution why don't Texans prememptively boycott their businesses?  I'm fairly certain some individuals are but where are the statewide campaigns?