One Texas pastor is opposing his state's so-called bathroom bill, which would require individuals to use the restroom that coincides with their original, biological sex, because — in his view — "God is transgender."
During a protest Tuesday with hundreds of LGBT advocates, the Rev. S. David Wynn, senior pastor at Agape Metropolitan Community Church in Fort Worth, spoke out against the legislation.
Senate Bill 6, proposed in January, would link all restrooms in public schools, government buildings and public universities to "biological sex," the Texas Tribune reported.
While many Christian conservatives have invoked Scripture in defense of such legislation, Wynn is demanding believers "stop using God as an excuse to hate people," according to the Huffington Post.
"In the beginning, God created humankind in God’s image. ... So God is transgender," Wynn said. "We’re all created in the image of what is holy and divine and sacred, and we should all be treated that way."
The bill has caused a sharp political divide among Texas residents, with some saying the legislation is a clear overreach that leads to unconstitutional discrimination against transgender people and others saying the law would protect people by keeping men out of women's restrooms.
More than 430 people testified Wednesday on the bathroom bill during a hearing before the Senate State Affairs Committee that lasted more than 13 hours, the Texas Tribune reported. More than 200 of those who testified spoke out in opposition to the bill while only 30 or so expressed support for the law.
During the hearing, state Sen. Eddie Lucio, the only Democrat who supports the legislation, cited "God's creation" as a reason why he backs the bill.
"God created everything, as far as I'm concerned, but especially man and woman," the lawmaker said.
Wynn, however, was not a fan of Lucio's reasoning.
"We're going to stop using God as an excuse to hate people," the pastor said. "If God hates all the same people you do, then you've created God in your image."
Pastor: "Stop using God as an excuse to hate people" #txlege #sb6 https://t.co/BAENGl2RjE— LeAnn Wallace (@LeAnn Wallace)1488910915.0
Despite the opposition, the Senate committee voted 8-1 Wednesday morning to send the bill to the full chamber for a vote.
In related news, a coalition of pastors, known as the Texas Pastor Council, along with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) publicly rebuked the National Football League in February for taking a political stand against Senate Bill 6, according to the Christian Post.
"We demand to know what role the NFL has in dictating the values of Texas, interfering with something outside of regulating their own sport and placing our women and children in harm's way to give preference to one tenth of one percent who are confused about their gender," the statement read.
If the NFL's values include requiring that men can use women's restrooms, we have a special message for the Commissioner and [NFL spokesman Brian] McCarthy; Pastors of every color and every corner of this state are declaring that we choose mothers over money, daughters over dollars and privacy over predators.
Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R), who has made passage of this bathroom bill one of his priorities, told reporters Tuesday that he expects the full Senate to vote on the measure next week. However, it is unclear what will happen to the bill once it makes it the state House.
House Speaker Joe Straus, a Republican, said earlier this week that he is "not a fan of the bill."