We saw a huge win for equality in Texas at midnight last night when the clock ran out on efforts in the Texas House of Representatives to pass a bill, HB 4105, barring state and local officials from issuing or recognizing marriage licenses for gay and lesbian couples regardless of what the U.S. Supreme Court rules on the freedom to marry this summer. We’re still watching very closely for any effort to amend anti-LGBT bills onto other legislation. But let’s take a minute to celebrate an important victory over efforts by religious-right groups to enshrine discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and their families into law.
And that victory is due in part because of people from across the state who called and wrote legislators in opposition to this reckless and discriminatory bill. As the press release below notes, calls and emails flooded legislative offices all week. Businesses also called on lawmakers to stop the attack on LGBT Texans. And bill opponents in the House did a great job making sure the clock ran out before the bill could be brought to a vote. Here’s the press release we sent out at midnight:
GROUPS HAIL FAILURE OF TEXAS HOUSE TO PASS MARRIAGE DISCRIMINATION BILL
Clock Runs Out on HB 4105, But Discrimination Measures Still a Danger Until End of Session
Civil liberties and LGBT rights groups tonight are hailing the failure by the Texas House of Representatives to pass HB 4105, which would bar the state from granting, enforcing or recognizing marriage licenses for same-sex couples even if the U.S. Supreme Court strikes down state bans on such marriages as unconstitutional. A growing number of major Texas-based companies, including Dell in Round Rock and Celanese in Irving, have come out publicly against the bill this week. Emails and calls have also flooded legislative offices in opposition to the bill. Moreover, House opponents successfully managed the bill schedule to keep HB 4105 from coming up for a vote. Following are statements from the Texas Freedom Network, American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, Equality Texas and the Human Rights Campaign.
Kathy Miller, president, Texas Freedom Network
“We hope today’s action means the death of this irresponsible bill and are grateful to all of the legislators who have worked hard to ensure that it never gets out of the House. This was just one bill among many in a broad strategy to lock in discrimination against gay and transgender Texans and subvert a Supreme Court ruling on the freedom to marry. Bad actors will continue to push their discrimination legislation, including as amendments to other bills, until the final gavel. So we’re not letting our guard down now.”
Terri Burke, executive director, American Civil Liberties Union of Texas
“HB 4105 would have accomplished nothing constructive. That this hateful, retrograde legislation has failed is an encouraging reflection that most Texans value equality.”
Chuck Smith, executive director, Equality Texas
“Thanks to the leadership of our allies in the Texas House, the clock ran out on HB 4105 at midnight. Unfortunately for LGBT Texans, there are still 17 days remaining in the legislative session – 17 days during which homophobic and transphobic lawmakers will continue to look for amendment opportunities to inflict discrimination. We must continue to fight their efforts to defy the Supreme Court and to deny equality to LGBT Texans – through the end of the legislative session and beyond.”
Marty Rouse, national field director, Human Rights Campaign
“As a deplorable last-ditch effort to try to stop marriage equality from reaching the state if the Supreme Court rules in favor of equality this summer, this destructive and divisive bill would have sent the wrong message about the future of the Lone Star State and the ability of all Texans to live and thrive there. We urge lawmakers to ensure neither this bill nor the more than twenty other pieces of discriminatory legislation targeting LGBT Texans and their families move any further.”