Civil, Religious Liberties Groups Tell Texas Lawmakers: There Is No Middle Ground on Discrimination

Finding ‘Balance’ on Bathroom Bill, Other Discrimination Legislation Is Misguided

Contacts:
Anna Núñez, 713-325-7010, ACLU of Texas, media@aclutx.org
DeAnne Cuellar, Equality Texas, 210-896-9141, DeAnne.Cuellar@equalitytexas.org
Nick Morrow, HRC, 865-386-8244, nick.morrow@hrc.org
José Medina, TFN, 512-804-8061, jose@tfn.org

AUSTIN – As Texas House and Senate committees today consider two bills that would effectively codify discrimination against LGBT Texans, leading civil and religious liberties organizations warn that lawmakers are pushing Texas in a dangerous direction.

The House State Affairs Committee is hearing testimony on a rewritten HB 2899, which supporters suggest is a more moderate version of the Senate’s SB 6. Both discriminate against transgender Texans in public restrooms.

The Senate Health and Human Services Committee is hearing testimony on SB 892, which would allow child welfare service providers to use religion to discriminate against LGBT families and children.

The two bills are among at least 24 that appear to be an elaborate legislative strategy to discriminate against LGBT Texans in virtually every aspect of their lives.

Rebecca L. Robertson, Legal and Policy Director, American Civil Liberties Union of Texas

“Just like Senate Bill 6, House Bill 2899 is unnecessary, discriminatory and inconsistent with the constitutional value that all Texans are equal under the law. And the same could be said of any of the other two dozen anti-LGBT bills proposed this session, whether it’s targeting transgender Texans, authorizing discrimination under the guise of religion, or rolling back hard-fought anti-discrimination policies. Our lawmakers seem determined to expose the state to costly civil litigation that we simply cannot afford.”

Chuck Smith, Chief Executive Officer, Equality Texas

“Filing and attempting to pass bills that codify discrimination is never going to be acceptable policy making for the state of Texas. All of these 24 anti-LGBTQ bills filed this session do nothing more than deprive Texans of their dignity and respect, or put transgender people at even greater risk of violence than they already are. There is no such thing as an acceptable amount of discrimination. Any lawmaker who supports these bills is advocating for discrimination against their constituents.”

Marty Rouse, National Field Director, Human Rights Campaign

“HB 2899 is a politically motivated attack on LGBTQ people, plain and simple. This is only happening because a handful of extreme lawmakers seem to be obsessed with passing laws regulating where transgender people can go to the bathroom. It’s a cruel and unnecessary distraction from the real problems facing Texas. Texas must not become the next North Carolina with this type of needless, discriminatory legislation.”

Kathy Miller, President, Texas Freedom Network

“It’s appalling that lawmakers are spending so much time on bills telling people where they can go to the bathroom and misusing religion to justify firing or refusing service to people because of who they are. Now some think they can find a middle ground on discrimination. But we either treat everyone in Texas equally or we don’t. There is no middle ground on that.”

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The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas is a guardian of liberty, working daily in courts, the Legislature and Texas communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to all in the Bill of Rights of our Constitution.

Equality Texas is the largest statewide organization dedicated solely to securing full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Texans through political action, education, community organizing, and collaboration.

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

The Texas Freedom Network is a nonpartisan, grassroots organization of religious and community leaders who support religious freedom and individual liberties.

The Transgender Education Network of Texas works to further understanding of gender diversity in Texas and to end discrimination against transgender and gender non-conforming Texans through social, legal, legislative and corporate education.

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