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Statement of Equality Texas’ CEO Chuck Smith on Texas Attorney General’s Appointment of Anti-LGBT Attorney Jeff Mateer
Posted on March 10, 2016 at 3:36 pm

Equality Texas works to secure full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Texans through political action, education, community organizing, and collaboration. Please consider our organization as a resource to assist with providing expert opinions relevant to religious liberty protections, and Attorney General’s recent decision to hire the First Liberty Institute’s general counsel Jeff Mateer.

A recent report from the Public Religion Research Institute shows there is widespread support for laws that would protect gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people from discrimination in jobs, housing, and public accommodations. In Texas, 67% of Texans favor a law protecting LGBT people against discrimination in jobs, public accommodations, and housing. And 53% oppose, letting a small business owner, based on their religious beliefs, refuse to serve someone who is LGBT. But in Texas, it is completely legal to terminate an employee because of their sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.

The Texas Attorney General’s Office is an agency of government that’s core mission is to protect all Texans. The agency is supposed to serve every Texan equally. It exists to protect seniors, protect consumers, collect child support for millions of children, assist victims of crime and enforce the open government laws in Texas. The Attorney General is the the chief attorney for the state of Texas. Attorney General Ken Paxton has brought shame and embarrassment to the office. He has ignored the United States Constitution and mislead public officials in his memo reacting to the same-sex marriage ruling handed down by the United States Supreme Court. He is currently under criminal indictment for breaking the law and continues to hire a series of First Assistant Attorney General’s who are political extremists and who have shown a pattern of discrimination against gay and LGBT Texans. It is very troubling that a man who was sworn into office to uphold Texas law and the US Constitution continues to hire people to lead his office who at the core of their work want to use taxpayer resources to discriminate against their own constituents.

Overwhelmingly, Texans believe that everyone throughout the state should be able to live without fear of discrimination. Legislators who support bills that discriminate against LGBT people are aligning themselves with hate groups that use lies and dishonesty to vilify our families and neighbors.  These same leaders do not reflect the brand of Texas, nor do they represent the opinions of most Texans. Texans value hard work where everyone is free from discrimination because we are a state big enough for all of us. Texans do not support discrimination in the name of faith. And, the Texas business community does not support discrimination. It’s time for Texas legislators to represent our Texas values – a state that welcomes our freedoms, our faiths and all of our families.

As equality continues to advance we believe opponents in Texas will become more extreme and more desperate in their efforts to codify discrimination. Equality Texas educates the public about what exactly nondiscrimination protections do and don’t mean, and we have to stories to share.

Should you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact DeAnne Cuellar at deanne.cuellar@equalitytexas.org.