Senator, Faith Leaders Criticize New Bexar County Anti-Woman Measure
The Bexar County Commissioners Court approved a measure by voice vote this morning that will add “gender identity, gender expression” and “sexual orientation” to protected classes in its human resources policy — opening the door to allowing men in women’s showers, restrooms, and changing areas in county-owned facilities.
Texas Values Policy Analyst Nicole Hudgens was among several voices calling for either a delay of the policy to allow for public feedback or rejection of it altogether.
Like with a similar policy adopted by the San Antonio ISD recently, the opponents outnumbered the supporters. The voices in support of the county measure were outnumbered 4-2.
“This new policy does not align with state law and has serious implications for privacy, and religious freedom,” Hudgens said. “A local government body cannot simply rewrite federal law just because they think it’s a good idea. We hope the Commissioners Court will realize what an expensive decision this is for the taxpayers of Bexar County and reconsider this ill-advised policy.”
The regrettable new policy states that the “policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment including, but not limited to … benefits,” which includes the use of showers, locker rooms, and restrooms on all county property by employees at locations where the general public, including women and children, will also be using the same facilities.
In a written statement, Texas Sen. Donna Campbell said the Commissioners Court and County Judge Nelson Wolff “bowed to political correctness, defied common sense, and eroded existing measures put in place to protect women from discrimination in the workplace.”
“Instead of working to create a better environment for women and encourage the hiring of more qualified women, they have removed expected levels of privacy for women in intimate places such as bathrooms and locker rooms associated with county buildings,” Campbell said. “The changes to their EEO Policy do nothing to curb the sexism and discrimination that far too women already experience in the workplace while guaranteeing new never-before-seen protections for men who identify or express themselves as women. On a Commissioner’s Court dominated by men, it is sad but not surprising to see concerns for women’s privacy so easily dismissed.”
Judge Wolff, prior to voting, mused “I thought we’d moved beyond this, thought we began healing” – yet he both allowed it on the agenda and expressed gratitude for county staff bringing it up for consideration.
Although the entire Commissioners Court voted by voice to approve the dangerous new policy (Commissioners Chico Rodriguez, Paul Elizondo, Kevin Wolff, and Tommy Calvert), Kevin Wolff remarked that the policy change “has more to do with political pandering” than countering allegations of discrimination.
Among the voices at today’s meeting opposing the measure was Patrick Von Dohlen of the San Antonio Family Association. Von Dohlen said the policy undermines marriage, and encourages anti-family values. “This city, 300 years ago, was established on Christian principles,” Von Dohlen said, referencing several items of business on the agenda concerning the county’s Tricentennial Celebration plans. The San Antonio Family Association has been a key advocate for family values in the San Antonio area and alerted Texas Values about today’s meeting.
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