Gov. Abbott defends North Carolina bathroom bill

ByTom Abrahams and DALLAS, TX KTRK logo
Thursday, May 12, 2016
State officials defend North Carolina governor at party convention
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Governor Greg Abbott expects state lawmakers to introduce legislation similar to North Carolina's controversial bathroom bill in 2017.

DALLAS, TX (KTRK) -- It's the issue that has so many talking, and now Texas Governor Greg Abbott is getting involved.

It involves public bathrooms and the rights of the transgender community: Should a person born of one sex have the right to use the bathroom of the opposite sex if that is how they identify?

First, there was the debate in Houston.

Now, it's in Ft. Worth Schools.

It even has the state of North Carolina facing off against the federal government.

Governor Abbott told Thursday's general session of the Texas GOP Convention in Dallas he is joining that fight.

"I am working with the Governor of North Carolina and we are going to fight back," said Governor Abbott to thunderous applause.

Lt. Governor Dan Patrick has been equally outspoken about the issue.

"We shouldn't even be having to have this debate in America," he told Eyewitness News. "The Governor was very clear. We're going to team up with North Carolina. We're willing to take on that fight in Texas to protect the women of Texas."

At this year's convention, for the first time, there is a booth featuring a predominantly gay Republican group, Metroplex Republicans.

They're glad to be included, but don't think the bathroom issue should be atop the list of priorities the Texas Republicans should be discussing.

"I think if you commit a crime in a bathroom, I think that should be a very serious offense and treated that way," said Rudy Oeftering, the group's president. "Why this is being laid off on the transgender community I don't understand. We want safe bathrooms. We need to have laws that make bathrooms safe rather than trying to pick on one community and say it's their fault."

Lt. Governor Patrick told Eyewitness News there will be legislation presented in the state senate in the next legislative session that he says will prevent men -- transgender or not -- from using women's bathrooms or locker rooms.