LGBTQ and civil rights groups take on Texas’ slate of anti-LGBTQ bills
Austin - Today, a group of LGBTQ and civil rights groups -- including the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), Equality Texas, the ACLU of Texas, the Texas Freedom Network and the Transgender Education Network of Texas responded to the anti-LGBTQ bills under consideration by Texas lawmakers.
Bills under consideration include HB 3859, a bill that would allow taxpayer-funded discrimination against LGBTQ prospective adoptive or foster parents as well as allow discrimination against children in foster or adoptive care, and anti-transgender amendments to bills such as SB 2078 and HB 4180. These proposals are part of a slate of unconscionable anti-LGBTQ bills being pursued by Texas lawmakers, who are undertaking a systematic effort to roll back the rights of LGBTQ Texans, piece by piece.
Chuck Smith, CEO of Equality Texas said, “On ‘Discrimination Sunday,’ the state of Texas successfully used fear and misinformation to advance two bills that if signed into law would codify discrimination against all LGBTQ children and adults living in Texas.
“SB 2078 allows for continued discrimination against transgender students with regard to restroom facilities and HB 3859 allows faith-based child welfare providers to use taxpayer money to refuse service to LGBTQ people, single women and men, Jews and Muslims. These bills are unjust, unnecessary, and they will ultimately endanger the lives of LGBTQ children and adults. Targeting some of the most vulnerable children in our state is abhorrent, shameful and disgraceful.”
Marty Rouse, HRC’s national field director said, “Quite simply, the legislature is putting politics before people. Texas has undertaken an unprecedented ‘Slate of Hate’ this legislative session: bills such as HB 3859, which would allow taxpayer-funded discrimination against prospective LGBTQ adoptive or foster parents and children in adoptive or foster care, as well as specifically anti-transgender legislation, has shown that the Texas legislature is intently focused on discriminating against LGBTQ Texans. Texas lawmakers must focus on the best interests of all Texans instead of attempting to win cheap political points by targeting LGBTQ people.”
“Since they gaveled the session open in January, Texas lawmakers have relentlessly pursued a cynical agenda that targets immigrants, women, and lesbian, gay and transgender Texans for discrimination," said Rebecca L. Robertson, Legal and Policy Director of the ACLU of Texas. "With underfunded schools, a failing child welfare system, and a shocking spike in maternal mortality, our lawmakers chose time and again to put politics ahead of the public good. Unless the governor acts, this divisive session will be remembered for relegating many of the most vulnerable in our state to permanent second-class status under the law.”
Kathy Miller, president of the Texas Freedom Network said, “HB 3859 and SB 2078 are prime examples of why this legislative session has been a disaster for civil liberties. Misusing religion to hurt people who are different is not religious freedom, and demonizing people who simply have to use the restroom does nothing to protect anyone’s privacy or safety. Those are only cynical justifications for allowing discrimination against people because of who they are or whom they love.
“What makes all of this even more tragic is that children are among those who will be hurt the most by these bills. Texas needs a Legislature that cares more about those children and everyone’s civil liberties than it does the demands of bullies who want to write discrimination into law.”
“We find it abhorrent that the 85th legislature negatively targets some of the most vulnerable and loved people in our communities; our school children," said Lauryn Farris, The Transgender Education Network of Texas. "Empathy begins when we begin to talk to our neighbors and friends, not when we create fear and seek solutions for non-existent issues. The lawmakers who represent the state of Texas swore to work for all of us.”
The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer equality. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.
Equality Texas works to secure full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Texans through political action, education, community organizing, and collaboration.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas is the leading civil rights organization in the Lone Star State. Since our formation in 1938, we have worked in the courts, the legislature, and through public education to protect civil rights and individual liberty.
The Texas Freedom Network is a nonpartisan, grassroots organization of religious and community leaders who support religious freedom and individual liberties.
The Transgender Education Network of Texas works to further understanding of gender diversity in Texas and to end discrimination against transgender and gender non-conforming Texans through social, legal, legislative and corporate education.
The Gayly – May 26, 2017 @ 10:45 a.m.