Texas Republicans in the US are reaping a convention backlash against their plans, unveiled back in January, for a ‘Bathroom Bill’ in the state senate, under which transgender people would need to use toilet facilities in public schools, government buildings and public universities based on their biological sex.
Organisers of several large conventions have threatened to boycott the state in favour of other destinations if the bill passes.
Three groups with meetings estimated to bring $3.1m in total spending have said they will no longer consider San Antonio for their events, according to Richard Oliver, spokesman for the local CVB, Visit San Antonio.
The bureau believes there are another eight conventions looking at the issue and, were they to pull out, would blow a $19.9m economic impact hole in state and hotel coffers.
Oliver, however, did not name these conventions, but told the local media: “Everyone has their radars up regarding this issue”.
Civil rights groups are campaigning against Senate Bill 6 as ‘discriminatory’.
There is a precedent, too, with North Carolina losing up to $600m in business, according to some estimates, due to a similar law passed last year.
On the other side of the debate, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, however, said the bill was a priority and rejected claims it would hurt the Texas economy.
“There is no evidence whatsoever that the passage of Senate Bill 6 will have any economic impact in Texas,” said Patrick.