It’s no surprise that the bigots in the Texas legislature are mounting a serious, multi-pronged assault on the LGBTQ community.
But events this week at the Capitol have made it clear just how serious the fight will be this session.
We have a number of pieces of bad news to report:
- Two new religious refusal bills have been filed in the Texas Senate, bringing the total to four. SB 1009 by Sen. Brian Birdwell (Granbury) would allow government officials to refuse to marry couples based on “sincerely held religious belief.” And SB 1107 by Sen. Lois Kolkhorst (Brenham) would let health care providers refuse care to members of our community.
- SB 15 by Sen. Brandon Creighton (Conroe), the ‘preemption’ bill which would gut local ability to set policies like paid sick leave, today was given a rush-assignment for a committee hearing in Senate State Affairs. This bill is a potential vehicle for amendments that could gut nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ Texans living in six major cities. That hearing has now been scheduled for this Thursday morning.
- HB 1035 by Rep. Bill Zedler (Arlington), arguably the most poisonous of the religious refusal bills because it is so sweeping, had been thought by Capitol insiders to be ‘dead on arrival’–but today, HB 1035 was referred to the House State Affairs committee.
Just how bad are these bills?
HB 1035, titled the “Free to Believe Act,” creates special rights to discriminate for people who hold anti-LGBTQ religious beliefs. This bill would empower anyone who holds those views to fire or refuse to hire, refuse to rent or sell housing to, refuse to serve or sell goods to, refuse to provide healthcare, and refuse to issue marriage licenses to LGBTQ Texans. HB 1035 even includes a “bathroom bill” clause.
SB 1107 and HB 1035 would allow health care providers to refuse medical care to LGBTQ people and families–the sole exception being life-saving measures.
SB 1009 not only would allow government officials to refuse to marry same-sex couples, it would also let them discriminate on the basis of race, religion, or national origin.
Make no mistake, these people are determined to roll back the progress we have made.
Don’t stay on the sidelines–make your voice heard today and help us stop these hateful bills. Here’s what you can do:
- Email your legislators calling on them to stand up for basic rights for LGBTQ Texans and oppose ‘religious refusal’ measures that create a license to discriminate.
- Sign up now to attend Lobby Day March 18, and be part of the rainbow wave at the Capitol.
- Make a special contribution to Equality Texas, to ensure we have the resources needed to activate constituents, communicate through the media, and elevate LGBTQ voices in committee hearings and legislative offices.
We need you today. Please stand with us.
The other side is counting on us to be complacent in the wake of defeating the bathroom bills.
We need to prove them wrong!