The National Football League (NFL) has warned that the state of Texas could lose its chances of hosting future Super Bowls if it enacts a bathroom bill similar to a law passed in North Carolina last year.
The Texas legislature is currently considering a bill that would require people to use publicly-owned bathrooms and changing rooms that are consistent with their biological sex. The bill, known as S.B. 6, would also prevent municipal and county governments from implementing ordinances that would require businesses and places of public accommodation to allow transgender people to use bathrooms that correspond to their gender identity, The Christian Post reported.
The bill was introduced in January by Republican Sen. Lois Kolkhorst of Brenham, and it is being actively pushed by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick. Fifteen Republican senators have also signed on as co-sponsors of the bill.
Last week, the NFL warned that the passage of the bill would discourage the league from awarding future Super Bowl events in Texas.
"The NFL embraces inclusiveness," said spokesman Brian McCarthy in an email to the Houston Chronicle. "We want all fans to feel welcomed at our events, and NFL policies prohibit discrimination based on age, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, or any other improper standard," he continued.
Following the statement from the NFL, Patrick's office clarified that sports teams in Texas will not be affected by the legislation.
"Despite persistent misinformation in the media, under Senate Bill 6, all Texas teams will be able to set their own policies at the stadiums and arenas where they play and hold their events. There is no conflict with the NFL's statement today and Senate Bill 6," Patrick spokesman Alejandro Garcia said, according to ESPN.
Texas has hosted three Super Bowls in the last 13 years, including Houston in 2017 and 2014, and Dallas in 2011. The NFL has already selected future Super Bowl sites through 2021, none of which include cities in Texas.
Opponents of the bill have argued that the legislation would be detrimental to the economy if passed.
North Carolina's bathroom bill has caused the NCAA and NBA to pull out major sporting events from the state. Forbes magazine estimated last year that the cancellations may have cost the state up to $600 million in revenue.
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