AUSTIN — The Dallas Stars have become the first professional sports franchise to publicly oppose the Texas "bathroom bill."
"The Dallas Stars stands strongly opposed to any legislation perceived as discriminatory, including proposed bathroom legislation," President James R. Lites said Wednesday. "Dallas welcomes all, and we welcome all."
Lites also referred to the NHL draft, which is scheduled to take place in Dallas next year despite objections from LGBT rights organizations: "We are proud of our home and want every visitor to feel safe at home here, too, and that’s why we oppose this discriminatory bathroom legislation."
While Houston Texans owner Bob McNair has criticized the bill, Lites is the first club president to reject legislation on behalf of an entire team. Sources have told The Dallas Morning News the Dallas Cowboys have been quietly lobbying against the bills, but the team has not yet publicly rejected it.
Multiple versions of the bathroom bill have been filed this year. After all failed to become law during the regular session, Gov. Greg Abbott resurrected the issue this summer, putting it on his list of priorities for the specials session he called last month.
Currently, three bathroom bills have been proposed that would either restrict restroom use based on biological sex or undo city ordinances that protect the right of transgender men, women and children to use intimate facilities that match their gender identity.
In the last month, dozens of big businesses — including 46 Fortune 500 companies — have come out in opposition to the bills, calling them discriminatory and hurtful to their prospects for recruiting and retaining the best talent. The outcry has made a difference among House Republicans, where chances of the bill becoming law now look slim.
The special session ends April 16.