Another transgender bathroom bill, this one in Tennessee, has failed after the House sponsor revealed she would withdraw the bill to wait to see how the legal challenges play it in other states with similar laws.
Rep. Susan Lynn, the Mount Juliet Republican, who was sponsoring the bill in the House, said that the bill needed tweaking before it could be brought up again next year.
Lynn said: “There’s definitely some issues we need to work out. We know as soon as this bill passes, we’re going to be sued. So if we’re going to be heading into a lawsuit, we want to make sure we have the strongest position possible.”
The bill is one we’ve seen many times in many forms now, as it would require all public school and university students to use bathrooms and locker rooms matching their birth gender.
As with all the other bills of this type, it has already been the topic of much divided opinion. Some used the old line of “protecting the students” while others rightly pointed out the discriminatory nature of such a bill.
Lynn had amended Tennessee’s version of the bill, allowing students who object an alternative, but some still said it was damaging to transgender people in these spaces. The measure will pulled on the same day that she faced pressure from Family Action Council of Tennessee to “false prophesies of economic gloom and doom” and listen to parents, churches and voters.
According to David Fowler, the president of Family Action Council of Tennesse, the failure of the bill is down to “consistent opposition from the governor’s office and others.”
He continued, saying: “We join the thousands of parents across the state who are profoundly disappointed that at this point in the process Rep. Lynn has decided not to proceed with a bill that would have simply protected the privacy of the children they have entrusted to our public schools.”
Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin was naturally pleased that the bill was pulled, but urged lawmakers not to revive it next year.
“Tennessee lawmakers were wise to learn from the mistakes of North Carolina and Mississippi and halt this cruel legislation that would have only worsened the marginalization and harassment transgender students already face on a daily basis.”
According to the state attorney general, the state would be at risk of losing federal education funds if the bill passed, putting $1.3 billion at risk. There were also concerns raised by Tennessee governor Bill Haslam, who was also worried that they could lose education funding.
Lynn said that she and Haslam has discussed this: “We’ve had conversations about it. And those conversations had to do with timing, had to do with strategy, and had to do with some outstanding issues we probably need to address in the legislation.”
While the failure of this bill is a great victory, don’t count this bill out yet. Lynn seems more than determined to see this bill through… for now.
“I feel very passionately about this issue,” she said. “I really believe that boys should just use the boys room and girls should use the girls room.”