Business Begins Pushback on Texas Discrimination Bills?

We’re hearing that major companies with headquarters or a significant presence in Texas are starting to push back against a number of anti-LGBT discrimination bills nearing votes in the Texas Legislature this week. Most of it’s happening in private meetings, apparently. But earlier this afternoon, Pamela Colloff from Texas Monthly tweeted that oil and gas giant BP reached out to her about “the anti-discrimination debate playing out in the Texas statehouse.” The full BP statement wasn’t available in the tweet, but it says in part that “BP opposes discrimination of any kind.”

We got this news around the same time we learned today that the Texas House could be voting Wednesday on a measure that would allow child welfare service providers that contract with the state to use religion to discriminate. Working with our coalition partners at the ACLU of Texas and Equality Texas, we sent out the following urgent memo to reporters:

LEGISLATION ALLOWING CHILD WELFARE SERVICE PROVIDERS TO USE RELIGION TO DISCRIMINATE FILED AS AMENDMENT TO SUNSET BILL

Family and Protective Services Sunset Bill Scheduled for House Vote on Wednesday

Yet another piece of legislation designed to allow discrimination against gay and transgender Texans could come to a vote on the floor of the Texas House of Representatives as early as Wednesday. State Rep. Sanford’s HB 3864, which would allow child welfare service providers to use religion to discriminate, has been filed as a proposed amendment to the sunset bill for the Department of Family and Protective Services. That sunset bill, HB 2433 by state Rep. Burkett, is on the House calendar for Wednesday, May 13.

If enacted into law, Rep. Sanford’s amendment would allow child welfare providers to discriminate against not just gay and transgender families seeking to provide loving homes for children who need them, but also against people of other faiths, interfaith couples and anyone else to whom a provider objects for religious reasons. This would seriously weaken the state’s child welfare system by further shrinking the pool of qualified parents who can provide a safe, loving home for children.

Moreover, the amendment would expose minors to potential harm, even allowing child welfare service providers to force gay and transgender minors into abusive and discredited reparative “therapy” programs to change their sexual orientation or gender identity. In fact, the state would potentially have no recourse to act to protect such children from that harm.

Let’s be clear: this amendment puts a political agenda and personal beliefs ahead of the interests of children in the state’s welfare system, many of whom have come into that system because of abuse and neglect. Decisions about the placement of those children in safe, loving homes should be based on their needs and on the ability of families to meet those needs, not the religious or moral objections of the agencies with which the state has contracted to provide those services.

The move to amend Sanford’s bill onto HB 2433 comes in the same week that the Senate and House are considering other bills targeting LGBT Texans. HB 4105, which would bar public officials from granting or recognizing marriage licenses for same-sex couples even if the Supreme Court overturns the state’s ban on such unions, is set for a House vote as early as today. SB 2065, which deals with clergy performing marriage ceremonies, passed the Senate on third reading today. It’s companion bill, HB 3567, is set for a House vote as early as today.

7 thoughts on “Business Begins Pushback on Texas Discrimination Bills?

  1. How far will this religious bigotry extend. I certainly hope that Toyota and Liberty are paying attention and back out, if it is feasible on their parts.

  2. Okay, so the Constitution doesn’t exist in Texas. Bigotry and flat-out stupidity are the most important things in the Texas club in Austin.

    They’re whipping out their penises or spreading their legs and urinating all over the law of the land–The Constitution of the United States. The tiny minds that are elected to that club amaze me, they have no concept of what it the separation of church and state, NONE.

    I wonder what it is going to take in order for Texas to join the rest of the United States and start following the law of the land.

  3. Reparative “therapy” has never worked; not even one person has had their gender or sexual orientation changed by that kind of torture.

    Why can’t the bigots get it through their heads that gender and sexual orientation is fixed PRIOR TO BIRTH? Scientists have proven that the parts of the brain that are responsible for gender identity or orientation are formed while the fetus is still in the womb.

    Neither you nor I can change one thing about who we are and to whom we are we are attracted sexually. I am a woman and there is nothing that can change that fact, nor would I WANT to be anything else but a woman who, BTW, loves men. Can’t help it and don’t want to change.
    Let me ask each of you, when did you DECIDE to be what you are? WHEN? You’re probably thinking to yourself “I never made a choice, it just happened.”
    Who are YOU to have the gall to think that you are “normal” while others are sick? Get it? You are who you are and have no choice to make.
    Who in their right mind would deliberately choose to be gay or transgendered knowing that most people would judge them negatively?
    Clean up your own act before being concerned about others.
    Bottom Line: You are not God, you have no right to judge.

  4. These legislators are fruitcakes!!! None of what they are doing will stand up in a federal courtroom. Give it up Texas fundies and conservative evangelicals. YOUR PARADE IS FINISHED!!!

  5. It’s amazing how much time the Texas Lege has wasted with this crap this session. For us taxpayers, that time translates into money which could be used for better purposes. It hurts me to see how much of my money is being spent trying to pass legislation harmful to my friends, who, BTW, are also taxpayers.

  6. I too don’t get it. They aren’t hurting and when I call a plumber or lawncare individual I don’t inquire into their personal lives. Why do some want to hurt others? This goes much deeper than plain bigotry. If the argument is that God is judge then let God handle it. Men are agents of will and can choose. And hopefully without fear of reprisals.

    1. I look at it this way. It is a matter of symbolism. Right after the American Civil War, the free negro became the living symbol of the failure of Southern beliefs and culture—not to mention loss in the war. Therefore, it was necessary to debase and castrate the negro in any way they could to take control of this failure symbol under control so history could be written the Southern way.

      LGBTQ people are now seen by the Christian fundamentalists, conservative evangelicals, and the Religious Right as the great living symbol of their long list of failures at social and cultural engineering in the United States. I think many outside of their realm and an increasing number within it view government acceptance of gay marriage as the final nail in their coffin that will finish off all they believe and value in this world. As the old fundie saying goes: ALL IS LOSHT!!! ALL IS LOSHT!!! The gay person is the symbol of the sinner’s triumph over the fundie religious tradition. They are desperate to find a way to debase this new symbol just as the Old South needed Jim Crow to debase the symbol of its failure in the Civil War.

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