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CIVIL LIBERTIES GROUPS RAISE THE ALARM ON ANTI-LGBT BILLS IN TEXAS 

Texas Pioneering Strategy to Subvert Supreme Court Ruling, Enshrine Discrimination in Law

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE April 29, 2015

Civil liberties groups warned today that Texas lawmakers are leading the way on a strategy to subvert a potential Supreme Court ruling in favor of same-sex marriage and enshrine discrimination against gay and transgender people in state law.

Bills now moving in the Texas Legislature go far beyond discriminatory bills that sparked uproar recently in Indiana and Arkansas, said Terri Burke, executive director of the ACLU of Texas.

“Under the guise of protecting religious liberty, Texas lawmakers are pioneering an aggressive strategy for preserving the right to discriminate against gay and transgender families no matter what the Supreme Court says about marriage,” Burke said. “The bills that are the foundation of this strategy are gaining traction and together are much worse than what we have seen elsewhere.”

Two such bills have already received the approval of House committees and await floor votes.

HB 4105 would bar public funding to license or recognize the marriages of gay and lesbian couples, even if the… Read More

TEXAS FREEDOM NETWORK PRESS STATEMENT ON HOUSE COMMITTEE PASSAGE OF HB 4105

TFN President: Texas Would Be Constitutionally Bound by Supreme Court Ruling on Marriage, Regardless of Legislative Action 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE April 22, 2015

The following is a statement from Texas Freedom Network President Kathy Miller following today’s approval of HB 4105 by the Texas House State Affairs Committee. HB 4105 is designed to subvert a potential U.S. Supreme Court ruling striking down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage. It would bar public funding for, and bar state and local officials from, licensing or recognizing same-sex marriages in any way, regardless of the Supreme Court’s ruling. Miller said:

“No one should be fooled into thinking that Texas isn’t constitutionally bound by rulings from the U.S. Supreme Court. Rulings decades ago striking down school segregation and the ban on interracial marriage should be evidence enough. So this bill really represents a legislative temper tantrum that would lead to costly lawsuits the state would almost certainly lose. And it would thrill people in Indiana who could finally point to another state as the poster child for passing laws that discriminate against people because of who they… Read More

NEW TEXAS ‘RELIGIOUS REFUSALS’ BILL OPENS DOOR TO DISCRIMINATION IN HEALTH CARE, SOCIAL SERVICES AND MORE

Leading Texas Religious Liberties Groups Unite on Initiative Opposing HB 3567 and Other Bills That Allow Using Religion to Discriminate

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE April 22, 2015

A bill under consideration in the Texas House State Affairs Committee today would give religiously affiliated entities like hospitals and child welfare organizations authority to discriminate against almost any Texas family, two of the state’s leading religious liberties organizations warn.

“This is yet another example of an ill-conceived bill that pretends to protect religious freedom but in truth opens the doors to real harm,” said Kathy Miller, president of the Texas Freedom Network. “And it invites to Texas the same uproar and condemnation we’ve seen with similar bills in Indiana and other states.”

Supporters portray House Bill 3567 by state Rep. Scott Sanford, R-McKinney, as simply protecting clergy from performing marriages that conflict with their religious beliefs. But the Constitution and Texas law already provide that protection, said Rebecca Robertson, legal and policy director for the ACLU of Texas.

“More troubling is that this bill goes much further,” Robertson said. “It would allow any religiously affiliated entity… Read More

TFN PRESIDENT CONDEMNS TEXAS SENATE PASSAGE ON SECOND READING OF VOUCHER BILL

SB 4 Robs Neighborhood Public Schools to Subsidize Private and Religious Schools

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE April 20, 2015

Texas Freedom Network President Kathy Miller issued the following statement today following the Texas Senate’s passage on second reading of Senate Bill 4. SB 4 uses tax credits to help fund vouchers that subsidize tuition at private and religious schools. Miller said:

“Neighborhood public schools and the millions of Texas kids who attend them just got mugged on the floor of the Texas Senate. The Senate should have fully restored the billions of dollars this Legislature cut from our neighborhood schools just four years ago. But instead they gave preliminary approval to a reckless and unaccountable voucher scheme that provides tax breaks for wealthy interests that take funds from public education in order to subsidize private and religious schools. The Texas Legislature is charged with providing a quality education for every child in our state. It seems today our senators forgot their obligation.”

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The Texas Freedom Network is a nonpartisan, grassroots organization of religious and community leaders who support religious freedom,… Read More

Joint press release from Texas Freedom Network, Equality Texas, ACLU of Texas

LAWMAKERS, BUSINESS AND CIVIL LIBERTIES LEADERS WARN LEGISLATURE AGAINST BILLS PROMOTING DISCRIMINATION AGAINST LGBT TEXANS

Press Conference Highlights Mounting Concerns about Bills That Would Spark Reactions Similar to Backlash in Indiana, Arkansas

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE April 7, 2015

Texas lawmakers and the head of the Texas Association of Business joined with civil liberties organizations today in warning against bills filed this year that promote discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Texans, arguing that our state risks a backlash similar to that seen in Indiana and Arkansas.

Speaking at a Texas Capitol press conference this morning, Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, and Rep. Rafael Anchia, D-Dallas, spoke on behalf of legislators worried about at least 20 bills that would allow, promote or even require discrimination against LGBT Texans. Bill Hammond, president of the conservative Texas Association of Business, joined the legislators to emphasize business opposition to such discrimination. Representatives from Equality Texas, the Texas Freedom Network and the ACLU of Texas also expressed legal and civil liberties concerns.

Ellis voted for the state’s existing Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which the… Read More

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