Small Texas businesses taking a stand against anti-LGBT legislation

Bathrooms at B.D. Riley's Irish Pub on Sixth Street. (KXAN Photo)
Bathrooms at B.D. Riley's Irish Pub on Sixth Street. (KXAN Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — In Texas, more than 200 small businesses have written an open letter to state lawmakers saying they will not tolerate any kind of legislation that would mirror North Carolina’s controversial bathroom bill.

Of the 200 businesses that signed the letter, 67 of them are right here in Austin, including B.D. Riley’s Irish Pub on Sixth Street.

“Basically we’re saying, any legislation that discriminates or creates an air of discrimination, is simply bad for business and it’s not what we’re about,” Steve Basile, managing partner of the Irish pub says.

The letter says in part:

…we’re watching what’s unfolding in North Carolina with a growing sense of dread. Experts put economic damage from the discriminatory HB2 law at $395 million and rising.”

Basile says it’s tough enough to run a small business without having a law that reduces the number of clientele.

“We run the risk of duplicating the errors of other states, if we move ahead with legislation such as Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick proposed, that to me is at least a misguided, if not intentionally discriminatory,” Basile says. “We don’t want to put any barriers on anyone.”

The letter goes on to say:

What’s not often talked about is that every single one of these losses impacts countless small businesses. Many of us rely on a thriving tourism economy… These economic impact figures aren’t just numbers to us. They represent a direct threat to our ability to do business.

“I don’t want anyone to think at any time that they’re not welcome in our pub for any reason,” Basile said. “If Texas passes legislation like this, it sends a message that our state is not a welcoming environment.”

Texas is already locked in a legal battle on this issue with the White House. In October, a judge ruled school districts nationwide could ignore President Obama’s guidelines on allowing transgenders students to use the bathroom of their choice.

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