Anti-LGBT Texas Lawmakers Bury Head in Sand, Ignore Warnings to Stop Virulently Extreme Legislation

by Stephen Peters

As major companies, technology leaders, faith leaders, and child welfare advocates warn Texas lawmakers to stop the attacks on LGBT Texans and their families, HB 4105 & 3567 move forward

WASHINGTON – On Tuesday, the Texas House of Representatives is expected to vote on HB 4105, a last ditch effort to shamefully try to stop marriage equality in the state as the Supreme Court considers a case that could lead to nationwide marriage equality. Prohibiting state or local employees from recognizing, granting, or enforcing a same-sex marriage licence or any funds being used for an activity to license or support these marriages, the bill is among more than 20 pieces of anti-LGBT legislationbeing considered by the Texas legislature.

HB 3567, a bill seeking to allow religious organizations and clergy to not celebrate same-sex marriages, including providing goods and services related to a marriage, is also expected to be heard by the Texas House on Tuesday. It’s Senate companion, SB 2065, could be considered as early as Monday.

Led by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, coalitions including major companiestechnology leadersfaith leaders, and child welfare advocates have all strongly condemned these extreme bills, motivated by the same anti-LGBT spirit as Indiana’s RFRA legislation earlier this year, as incredibly bad for business and sending the wrong message of exclusion and discrimination.

  • Major companies – including major Texas employers like PepsiCo, parent company of Frito Lay, and American Airlines – have made it abundantly clear that these anti-LGBT bills undermine their core values and set dangerous precedents that stifle investment and economic growth.

  • Over 130 technology leaders – including titans of the industry from Facebook, Microsoft, Google, Verizon, AT&T, and many, many more – have also taken the unprecedented stance of calling for an end to the anti-LGBT legislation in Texas and around the country, saying, “We believe it is critically important to speak out about proposed bills and existing laws that would put the rights of minorities at risk. The transparent and open economy of the future depends on it, and the values of this great nation are at stake.”

  • 17 prominent national religious leaders, from California to the nation’s capital, added their names to a historic statement calling for an end to “religious refusal” bills that allow discrimination against LGBT people.

  • Major child advocacy groups have joined HRC in opposing an extreme anti-LGBT adoption bill in Texas that is dangerously close to becoming law.

"Astonishingly, some Texas lawmakers seem to have completely missed—or are purposely ignoring—the lessons learned from the harmful anti-LGBT debacle in Indiana,”said HRC National Field Director Marty Rouse. “Lawmakers should sit up and pay attention to the overwhelming opposition to bills like HB 4105 before it’s too late. These bills have nothing to do with Texas values and have everything to do with enshrining discrimination into state law. At a moment when people across this state—and across the country—are calling for all people to be treated fairly, the Texas legislature must not send this state backwards with dangerous and hostile anti-LGBT legislation."

Texas lawmakers should take careful note of the political and business fallout in Indiana over anti-LGBT legislation signed into law by Gov. Mike Pence.  In a recent case study, HRC showcased a poll revealing that a stunning 75 percent of Hoosiers report that Gov. Pence’s push for the anti-LGBT “religious refusal” bill has damaged Indiana’s business climate. It also showed how the political environment has deteriorated significantly for Gov. Pence. More Hoosiers now think the state is on the “wrong track” than on the “right track,” – his personal approval ratings have plummeted – and he’s now tied with a potential Democratic challenger, in a state that President Obama lost by 10 points in 2012. 53 percent of likely voters said the debate left them with a less favorable opinion of Pence.

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. HRC envisions a world where LGBT people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.


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