Texas Governor Greg Abbott encourages “NO” vote on HERO: “No men in women’s bathrooms”

What is it with Texas today?

Texas Governor Greg Abbott waded into the referendum on Houston’s Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) today with a disgusting tweet:

As an anti-gay governor of an anti-gay state, it isn’t all that outlandish for Abbott to speak out against an anti-discrimination ordinance. HERO has the support of President Obama, Vice President Biden and probably-next-president Hillary Clinton; that’s usually enough to get some high-profile detractors.

Greg Abbott, via Gage Skidmore / Flickr

Greg Abbott, via Gage Skidmore / Flickr

Of course, that leaves aside the real problem with Abbott’s appeal: it’s a lie. Despite the entire premise of the campaign against HERO being that it’s a subversive attempt by the Big Gay Lobby to let men into women’s bathrooms to rape your daughter (really), that isn’t what the bill does. At all. Cities across the country — including Austin, Dallas and El Paso in Texas — have had equal rights ordinances on the books for over a decade; none have ever had a reported case of a self-identifying man citing the ordinance as an excuse for going into a women’s bathroom. It simply doesn’t happen, and there’s no reason to believe it will.

The problem here is that a great many people in Houston believe this lie, and have reportedly turned out in droves in right-wing areas of the city during the early voting period in an attempt to defeat the measure, which Houston’s city council passed by a solid 12-5 margin. So despite the fact that Harris County, Texas voted for President Obama’s re-election by a narrow margin — with the City of Houston likely going deeper blue than the surrounding county — disparities in turnout could very well lead a popular measure to be defeated tomorrow at the polls.

It’s an easy game to play: Take a popular, non-controversial bill that other cities have had on the books for years without issue, say it does something gross that it totally doesn’t do and watch the religious votes pour in. If you live in Houston, you had better be voting tomorrow.

Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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24 Responses to “Texas Governor Greg Abbott encourages “NO” vote on HERO: “No men in women’s bathrooms””

  1. DoverBill says:

    Why don’t these creeps ever complain about women sneaking into men’s bathrooms?

  2. Jak Roberts says:

    You lost me at “probably next president Hilary”

  3. mark says:

    Bill, share with me the link on that wonderful video!

  4. Bill_Perdue says:


    The Clintons now pretend that they aren’t bigots. They’re lying. They’re rebranded bigots. We’ve been over this time and again. Republicans are just as bad. In fact, the Clintons were promoting polcies that originated with Republicans.

    Some people pretend that Democrats are allies of the LGBT communities, but they gave us DADT and DOMA and refuse to enact anti-discrimination laws like ENDA.

    As for Benghazi, the only relevant question has nothing to do with campaign lies by both parties, rather it’s about their bipartisan and totally reactionary role in promoting wars of aggression.

    Libya was a demonstration attack by the US and NATO meant to punish the Arab Spring and discourage its spread. As they did in Iran, Iraq, Palestine, Egypt, Bahrain, Syria and elsewhere the US and NATO allied themselves with right wing forces either to cement the power of a right wing dictatorships, as they did in Bahrain and Egypt, or to get rid of secular governments and replace them with hard right islamist dictatorships, as they did in Iraq and Libya and are trying to do in Syria and Yemen.

  5. marknc says:

    Show me an example of any Dem playing this game of deliberately lying.

    And please don’t start with the horse shit about a video in Benghazi. Find a real example if you can.

  6. rmthunter says:

    It’s not even other countries — been to a coffee shop lately? Here in Chicago, the bathrooms in coffee shops are all unisex. A lot of larger retailers that have the room are putting in “family bathrooms” — male, female, and children. (Lincoln Park Zoo just added one as part of a new exhibit complex.) And check out any handicapped-accessible bathrooms — yep, unisex.

    As for Americans in general — I can’t agree: we’re dealing here (and in like episodes) with politicians riling up the worst of their constituents, and the ones with some sense staying home on election day because they don’t see that these issues have any relevance to them. I think the default position for most Americans is to get along with each other; it’s when we have those who crave power and/or money interfering that we wind up with messes like this.

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  8. goulo says:

    Sadly “lots” does not imply “majority”. :/

  9. crazymonkeylady says:

    The Governor is a compete Moran!

  10. mf_roe says:

    Listening to the preacher.

  11. emjayay says:

    Sphincter muscle in the urinary track, actually. Nothing to do with kidneys. Or steak.

  12. Indigo says:

    I know, Austin is wondermous, and there’s lots of good folks in Texas with fine intentions. We’re reminded of that regularly. But, hey! They’re voters, aren’t they? And these nonsensical characters keep being elected, don’t they? So . . . where’s all these wonderful good folks? they’re letting this happen.

  13. Houndentenor says:

    Which is why I’m making a concerted effort to find a job in a state not run by a lunatic.

  14. So Sad says:

    Well, they helped elect Gov. Windbag didn’t they? What else is needed to demonstrate their stupidity?

    In only his short time as Gov he’s dispatched – and then quietly recalled most of – the DPS (state police) to patrol the border, later replacing them with the TX Nat’l Guard. Oh, and don’t forget his embarassing decision to dispatch elements of that same force to observe and monitor the US Special Ops Command’s multistate war games this summer and, presumably, protect our “wimmin-folk”, children, and most importantly, our GUNS from those dirty Federalist pigs who were almost certainly secretly planning to confiscate Texans’s guns, and presumably lock them and their former owners away in secret tunnels hidden beneath closed Wal-Marts thruout WTX and NM. And then there’s his attempt to circumvent Federal law by encouraging TX authorities to flaunt the recent Supreme Court ruling about gays and gay marriage while simultaniously touting the glories of “freedom” and “liberty”. Funny nobody’s ever heard him complain about the Americans with Disabilities Act benefits that he makes such use of. Maybe he’s only for some folks having liberty and freedom, and not others. It’s like his crusade for tort reform. He never showed any public interest in limiting any legal awards until after he secured his own $10MM award against the homeowner whose tree fell on him paralyzing him as he jogged by. It was also only after securing this bonanza that he began championing capping the payouts for others to 2X for econ damage plus med costs.

    Yep, our own Governor Wannabe is a prince. A real g.d. prince.

  15. Demosthenes says:

    Perhaps Gov. Abbott should also oppose special facilities for the physically handicapped?

  16. Indigo says:

    That sums it up without addressing the nature of the bizarre cultural fixations we have developed. Privately, I call it the Mayberry RFD syndrome. Several of my relatives suffer from it. There is no immediately obvious cure.

  17. Indigo says:

    Oh, man. That was a dark time. Back again, apparently.

  18. JaneE says:

    Apparently the GOP consists of peepers who peer into the stalls to look at other people’s junk. Or whatever.

    I have used a lot of public restrooms, and the only time someone in another stall has tried to contact me was when their toilet was out of paper or seat protectors. Besides, in my state, it is legal for people of the opposite sex to assist anyone who is handicapped. They even post notices to that effect, so you won’t be surprised to see a man in the ladies, or vice versa.

  19. Buford says:

    These idiots need to be shown how stupid they are for being panicked about a Carmen Carrera using the ladies room and/or an Aydian Dowling using the men’s room.

  20. Bill_Perdue says:

    Republican bigots are swine. So are their Democrat counterparts.

  21. BeccaM says:

    That’s a brilliant point really: “Who among us DIDN’T grow up in a home that essentially had ‘unisex bathrooms’?”

    I’ve been to any number of countries where unisex bathrooms are the norm rather than the exception. What it taught me is Americans are, on average, a fearful anxiety-ridden people who are afraid of things they ought not to bear and fail to worry about the things they should.

  22. MoonDragon says:

    I grew up in a house with a unisex bathroom. If the door was closed it meant one needed to knock before entering. I’ve also been to McSorley’s Bar (turkey sandwich with horseradish mustard is a killer – and the only food they serve except for a saltine, onion, and mustard plate.) They only had one head (“If we absolutely must serve women to keep our license, they’re gonna have to use the same bathroom, cause there’s no place to put a second one.”) No big deal for the women who used the stalls, but the guys at the urinals sometimes developed bashful kidneys.

  23. MoonDragon says:

    My guess is that Abbot and his ilk are more afraid of sharing a bathroom with a woman because their guns won’t save them from the exposure.

  24. BeccaM says:

    This was one of the same despicable, specious, fear-mongering arguments used to defeat the Equal Rights Amendment, by the way. Framed in exactly the same way, too.

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