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HB 3859 Goes Into Effect, SB 4 Temporarily Halted
Posted on September 1, 2017 at 1:34 pm

HB 3859 Goes Into Effect

Effective September 1st, LGBTQ foster children and parents in Texas are in trouble. HB 3859 makes it legal within the state of Texas for child welfare providers to use taxpayer dollars to discriminate against LGBTQ youth and prospective LGBTQ foster or adoptive parents if doing so conflicts with the provider’s “sincerely held religious beliefs”, and to deny those it serves access to contraception, abortions or abortion-inducing services.

With HB 3859 in effect, child welfare providers can legally refuse adoption agreements and foster care services based on someone’s sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, sex, religion, or marital status. Texas now has the broadest, most discriminatory child welfare religious refusal act in the United States. HB 3859 is not only discriminatory to qualified foster and adoptive parents, it also puts thousands of youth in care in jeopardy.

Equality Texas, Family Equality Council, and Lambda Legal have compiled a fact sheet about Texas’ License to Discriminate in Child Welfare Law.

SB 4 Temporarily Halted

Back in May Governor Greg Abbott signed into law SB4, the “show me your papers” bill considered to be one of the most severe anti-immigrant laws passed in the United States. A day after Texas’ governor signed the bill into law, municipalities and counties throughout the state filed lawsuits against both the Governor and State Attorney General Ken Paxton. Four of the largest cities: Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, and Austin joined the lawsuits.

On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia temporarily halted part of SB4, which was set to go into effect today. If SB 4 survives lawsuits, and is eventually put into effect, the law would subject LGBTQ people of color to discriminatory stops and unjust questioning about their immigration status by local law enforcement. LGBTQ Texans have historically been harassed by law enforcement officials. In the end, if SB 4 is enacted, LGBTQ people who have fled violence in other countries will be at risk for deportation.

We encourage LGBTQ people threatened by SB 4 to know their rights, and to visit this page created by our equality coalition partner ACLU of Texas.