Discrimination Laws Betray Guarantee of Equality, Risk the Same Economic Backlash That Has Damaged North Carolina and Other States
Dione Friends, ACLU of Texas, firstname.lastname@example.org
DeAnne Cuellar, Equality Texas, email@example.com
Nick Morrow, Human Rights Campaign, firstname.lastname@example.org
Dan Quinn, Texas Freedom Network, email@example.com
AUSTIN – Policy experts and advocates today warned that discriminatory legislation targeting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in Texas betrays our nation’s fundamental guarantee of equality for all and carries serious risks for the state’s economy and reputation across the country.
At a briefing in the Texas Capitol, speakers pointed in particular to the damage done in North Carolina when that state’s lawmakers passed a sweeping bill — HB2 — that barred local anti-discrimination protections for LGBT people and required discrimination against transgender people in public restrooms and other facilities.
“In North Carolina, the anti-transgender law HB2 led to widespread economic loss – loss that we felt strongly in Greensboro when concerts and sporting events relocated due to the law,” said Mayor Nancy Vaughan of Greensboro, North Carolina, who spoke at today’s briefing. “I came to Austin this week to warn lawmakers about the disastrous consequences that these types of discriminatory laws can have. I hope the legislature heeds my warning and does not risk the reputation of the Lone Star State and the economic and social well-being of all of its citizens by pursuing harmful, anti-LGBTQ laws.”
So far, Texas lawmakers have filed or suggested they will file bills that would discriminate against transgender people, bar cities and other local jurisdictions from passing nondiscrimination measures protecting LGBT people, and allow individuals, businesses and organizations to use religion to refuse to obey anti-discrimination measures and other laws they oppose. Among the bills are:
These bills are similar to deeply controversial laws passed in Indiana, North Carolina and a few other states. North Carolina’s HB2 has cost that state thousands of jobs, hundreds of millions of dollars in economic development and major sports events like the NBA All-Star Game. The Republican North Carolina governor who defended and signed the bill into law, Pat McCrory, lost his reelection race in November.
The influential Texas Association of Business last fall released a study showing that passage of an anti-LGBT discrimination bill in Texas could cost the state 185,000 jobs and up to $8.5 billion due to boycotts and other actions taken by businesses and equality advocates from across the country.
Speakers at today’s briefing also pointed out that religious refusal laws like those advocated by Rep. Krause and Rep. King radically redefine religious liberty by allowing people to use faith as a weapon to harm others and to ignore laws everyone else must obey.
Organizations sponsoring or participating in today’s briefing included the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Texas, Anti-Defamation League, Equality Texas, Human Rights Campaign, Texas Freedom Network and Transgender Education Network of Texas.