The Dallas Stars came out on Wednesday against the proposed “bathroom bill” working its way through the Texas legislature.
The Stars are the first pro team in Texas to publicly state their opposition to the controversial bill. In a letter, the team’s CEO writes the Dallas Stars stand strongly opposed to any legislation perceived as discriminatory, including proposed bathroom legislation.
"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,” President James Lites’ letter continues.
There are multiple versions of the bathroom bill currently being debated during the special session in Austin. The different bills either block local ordinances in effect that protect transgender citizens or restrict bathroom use based on biological sex.
Lites also mentioned the NHL Draft, which was just awarded to Dallas for next summer despite concerns over the bills potential passage.
“We are proud of our home and want every visitor to feel at home here, too, and that’s why we oppose this discriminatory legislation,” he wrote.
Numerous Dallas corporations have already publicly stated their opposition to the bathroom bill, saying it would hurt recruiting of workers and potential stop some deals.
In another letter, the Dallas arts community also condemned the bill. Representatives from 32 groups, including the AT&T Performing Arts Center and the Dallas Museum of Art, signed the letter saying they oppose "any legislation that would discriminate against the LGBT community.”
The CEOs of American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Atmos Energy, AT&T, Texas Instruments, DFW International Airport, BNSF Railway, Kimberly-Clark, Tenet Healthcare, The Beck Group, Crow Holdings, Celanese, Fluor and Emmitt Smith (EJ Smith Enterprises) signed that letter.
Republicans who support the bill maintain it's about safety and privacy. The conservative group Texas Values released a statement in response to Lites’ letter saying it’s good for Dallas Stars fans to know they are okay with men entering girls’ bathrooms at their hockey games.
“Fans should be very careful when they attend Dallas Stars games,” the groups said.
Texas Values also compiled a list of Texas businesses, many of them small and local, which support the legislation.
Charles Santos with the AT&T Performing Arts Center said the Dallas Arts District fears potential impacts.
“There are many arts organizations that will choose not to come to Dallas if this bathroom bill — which is what we consider to be a discriminatory bill — passes,” Santos said.
Visit Dallas CEO Philip Jones said Texas has already lost $60 million just over the talk of this bill. Jones said he asked the Stars to write the letter and hopes teams like the Cowboys, Mavericks and Rangers will follow suit.
The special session is set to end Aug. 16.