A Texas pastor opposing a controversial transgender bathroom bill that would require individuals to use public restrooms based on "biological sex" protested the bill with hundreds of LGBTQ advocates on Tuesday declaring that "God is transgender."
Senate Bill 6, proposed in January, would require everyone to use bathrooms in public schools, government buildings and public universities based on "biological sex," according to The Texas Tribune. The measure would also pre-empt local nondiscrimination ordinances that allow transgender Texans to use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity.
The Rev. S. David Wynn, a senior pastor from Agape Metropolitan Community Church in Fort Worth, Texas, lashed out at the bill in solidarity with hundreds of LGBTQ advocates protesting the bill outside the state capitol in Austin.
"In the beginning, God created humankind in God's image. ... So God is transgender," Wynn told the crowd which roared in approval. "We're all created in the image of what is holy and divine and sacred, and we should all be treated that way."
The controversial bill has sparked fierce debate in Texas and across the nation since it was proposed in January. Critics claim it engenders unconstitutional discrimination against transgender people while advocates of the bill say it will increase privacy and safety and keep men out of women's bathrooms.
The Texas Tribune reported that more than 430 people had signed up to testify on the legislation. By the end of the hearing, more than 200 people had testified against the bill while about 30 spoke in favor of the legislation.
During Tuesday's hearing, Democratic state Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr. noted that "God's creation" was one reason he supports the bill.
"God created everything as far as I'm concerned, but especially man and woman," Lucio said.
In his address however, Pastor Wynn ripped the senator's message.
"We're going to stop using God as an excuse to hate people," Wynn said of the bill's religious supporters. He then paraphrased author Anne Lamott. "If God hates all the same people you do, then you've created God in your image."
Despite the opposition to the bill however, the Senate State Affairs Committee voted 7-1 early Wednesday morning to advance the bill to the full chamber where a majority of conservatives and one Democrat have already signed on to the measure.
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick who has made the legislation one of his priorities said Tuesday that the full Senate is set to take up the measure next week.
In February, a coalition of pastors known as the Texas Pastor Council that spearheaded the defeat of Houston's Equal Rights Ordinance, known also as the "Bathroom Bill," publicly rebuked the National Football League after the organization threatened to make Texas pay if the state SB6.
"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," they said in a statement.
"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," it continued.
"Texans love football, but we love our God, our freedom and our families more. If we are forced to choose, then we will say to the NFL and other sports organizations or lobby groups; 'Don't let the ticket gate hit you on the way out of Texas,'" the diverse coalition of pastors added.