California Ban on Travel Highlights Risks of Discrimination Obsession at the Texas Capitolby
TFN President: Texans Are Watching a Slow-Motion Economic Train Wreck
AUSTIN – Texas Freedom Network President Kathy Miller is warning that California’s decision this week to bar nonessential state travel to Texas highlights the growing risks from legislative efforts to pass laws discriminating against LGBT people.
California’s attorney general blocked state-funded travel to Texas because of the Legislature’s passage of a law allowing child adoption and foster care agencies to discriminate against LGBT people (as well as people of minority religious faiths). Texas Gov. Greg Abbott this month bowed to demands by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick to include legislation discriminating against transgender people in public restrooms on the call for a special legislative session that begins July 18.
“We’re watching a slow-motion economic train wreck here, and the special session could turn that into a full-on disaster,” Miller said today. “This goes beyond the very real moral problem with discriminating against people simply because of who they are or whom they love. What should be increasingly clear even to the governor and lieutenant governor is that their obsession with writing discrimination into law risks turning Texas into a state that people and companies simply don’t want to visit or do business in.”
California’s decision to bar travel to Texas could have ripple effects, including for conferences that include significant participation from officials in the nation’s most populous state. In addition, participation by California Pac-12 schools in NCAA competitions in Texas, such as the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio and Sun Bowl in El Paso, could be threatened.
Other signs of the economic damage from the discrimination obsession in the Texas Capitol are also becoming clearer:
- The 7,000-member Professional Convention Management Association announced this month that it is canceling a major conference set for Houston because of efforts to pass a state law discriminating against transgender people.
- The National Communication Association is now reconsidering an earlier decision to go forward with its Dallas conference in November because Californians make up an important segment of its membership.
- The NFL and CEOs at major corporations — including Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and Dell — have warned Texas against passing discriminatory legislation.
- In March a spokesman for the San Antonio Convention and Visitors Bureau said that city had already lost conferences — with a combined economic impact worth millions of dollars — because of the Legislature’s efforts to pass discriminatory laws.
- A study commissioned conducted by the Waco-based Perryman Group this spring warned that passing discriminatory legislation could cost the state billions of dollars in annual tourism and more than 35,000 full-time jobs in businesses associated with leisure travel and conventions.
The Texas Freedom Network is a nonpartisan, grassroots organization of religious and community leaders who support religious freedom and individual liberties.