The Dallas Stars announced their opposition Wednesday to the three bathroom bills under consideration during the Texas Legislature's special session, becoming the first Texas sports franchise to do so.
"The Dallas Stars stands strongly opposed to any legislation perceived as discriminatory, including proposed bathroom legislation," President Jim Lites said. "We welcome fans from all over the globe, and our roster boasts players from half a dozen countries. Dallas welcomes all, and we welcome all."
Lites pointed to next year's NHL draft, which was awarded to Dallas despite objections from LGBTQ groups, as evidence of what's at stake for the team and the city should the state pass one of the laws.
"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," he said.
Houston Texans owner Bob McNair criticized the regular session's proposed bathroom bills in March but did not do so on behalf of his team or in any official capacity. The Dallas Morning News' David Moore reported earlier this month that sources told him the Dallas Cowboys were working behind the scenes to kill the bills, but the team has not come out against them publicly. That hasn't stopped opponents of the bill from using the team to rally support.
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The Texas Association of Business, one of the earliest and loudest opponents of the bills, is running radio ads suggesting that passing them could lead the NFL to reject the Cowboys' application to host the 2018 NFL draft, leading to “millions of dollars in lost revenue and leaving a lot of Cowboys fans angry."
The Stars' statement comes as the legislature enters the last week of Gov. Greg Abbott's special session. So far, zero bills have passed both the House and Senate and made it to Abbott's desk. The Texas House, led by Speaker Joe Straus, has engaged in a slowdown in hopes of derailing Abbott's agenda, including the bathroom bill.
At this point, it doesn't look like the bathroom bills, which would require visitors to public facilities in Texas to use the restroom consistent with the sex listed on their birth certificate and would strike down municipal ordinances that protect transgender individuals from discrimination, will make it to the floor of the House for debate. If they don't, it will be up to Abbott to either shelve the issue for two years or call another special session.