Starting today, the Texas Legislature is back at the Capitol — and so is Equality Texas! Here’s a preview of what we expect — and our plans to hold the line for LGBTQ rights in Texas.
We are at a turning point for LGBTQ equality in Texas. Last session, you helped us defeat Dan Patrick’s divisive “bathroom bill” twice. And in November’s election, you sent four of the most bigoted legislators packing and elected pro-equality lawmakers in their place. Public support for equality is at an all-time high, with nearly two-thirds of Texans saying they support non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ Texans. But there is plenty of work ahead to ensure we can seize this moment.
POLITICAL LANDSCAPE STILL NOT FAVORABLE
Moderate Speaker Joe Straus has retired, and it’s not yet clear how far the presumptive new Speaker, Dennis Bonnen, will allow anti-equality lawmakers to push their agenda. On the Senate side, with Dan Patrick — who has been obsessed with singling out LGBTQ Texans — still at the helm, we remain vulnerable.
THREATS WE’RE MONITORING
If the last several sessions are any indication, we will see a number of attacks on LGBTQ Texans this session. Opponents of equality are calling for a law to “preempt” or block cities from passing local nondiscrimination ordinances. Preemption threatens to nullify local protections in 6 Texas cities covering 5.6 million Texans. There is also a coordinated effort to create more religious exemptions — in healthcare, in social services, in the workplace, in access to housing, in business, and even in government. And although we hope lawmakers learned their lesson in 2017, we are prepared to fight if another bill to bar transgender people from using bathrooms that are appropriate for them is filed.
GOING ON OFFENSE
There is also plenty of good news. In addition to the legislative allies who have carried pro-equality legislation and stood strong with us over the years, we’re celebrating the historic swearing in of five openly LGBTQ members today.
We’re proud to be working to advance a comprehensive anti-discrimination bill that protects LGBTQ Texans in the workplace, housing, and public accommodations. Most people don’t know you can still be fired from your job, evicted from your home, or turned away at the corner store just because of who you are or whom you love. We can turn a corner this year by gaining support for this bill.
HOW WE WILL WIN
As always, our success at the legislature depends on you. In 2017, our supporters generated more than 34,000 legislative contacts, including calls, emails and visits to lawmakers, and it made all the difference. We will have to match that effort in 2019. Here’s what you can do today:
Mark your calendar now for our annual equality day at the Capitol on March 18 and for transgender equality day on March 7. We’ll share more soon about these events.
Take a minute to send a short message to your contacts asking them to get involved today. The more people who sign up to receive our action alerts, the better able we are to mobilize at critical moments in the fight. It can be as simple as:
The Texas legislature is back in session, and we expect more attacks on LGBTQ equality. As an Equality Texas supporter, I get up-to-the-minute information about the session and what I can do to fight discrimination. Will you take a minute to sign up for action alerts now? It’s as simple as clicking here.
Thank you for supporting Equality Texas and your dedication to securing full legal and lived equality for LGBTQ Texans.
We’ll see you at the Capitol!