The freedom to marry became the law of the land, even here in Texas, in June of 2015. But the fight for equality didn’t end there. Texas remains a state where LGBTQ individuals can be fired from their job, denied a place to live or refused service at a business simply because of who they are or whom they love.  Far-right activists and politicians continue to work to preserve the right to discriminate and roll back gains made by the LGBTQ community at the local level.

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Advocates at State Affairs Hearing Push Back Against Arguments That Anti-Discrimination Laws Threaten Religious Liberty

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AUSTIN – Religious and civil liberties groups today warned Texas senators that religious freedom has never meant the right to use faith as a weapon to discriminate against others or to ignore laws that everyone else must obey.

Representatives from the various groups spoke at a press conference before a Texas Senate State Affairs Committee hearing on religious freedom today. They countered arguments that individuals and businesses should be able to use their religious beliefs to opt out of or simply refuse to obey anti-discrimination measures and other laws that protect everyone. And they pointed to real threats to religious freedom that should command the committee’s attention.

Kathy Miller, president, Texas Freedom Network “Religious freedom is one of our most fundamental rights as Americans. But it’s deeply dishonest when politicians radically redefine that freedom so that individuals and businesses can use religion to discriminate or impose their personal religious beliefs on others. In America we all have the right to equal treatment under the law, regardless of who we are or what we believe.”

Rebecca L. Robertson, legal and policy director,… Read More

We told you last week about Jared Woodfill’s coming bid for chair of the Texas Republican Party. He made the official announcement at an event hosted by Houston hate-monger Steve Hotze’s Conservative Republicans of Texas organization. The anti-LGBT rhetoric at the event was so vile that it appeared to make some of the folks even in that audience uncomfortable. The following article about the event is republished here with permission from Quorum Report, a widely respected, Austin-based website that focuses on Texas political news. Quorum Report’s Scott Braddock wrote it.

HOUSTON – A day after once again stepping onto the national political stage by inserting himself into the Planned Parenthood video fight, former Harris County GOP Chairman Jared Woodfill on Thursday evening formally announced he is running to lead the Republican Party of Texas. He is running alongside Texas Eagle Forum President Cathie Adams, who has announced for Vice Chair.

The announcement came as part of archconservative activist Steve Hotze’s first annual Conservative Republicans of Texas Dinner – an evening focused on opposition to the “homosexual movement” and railing against Texas House leadership under Speaker Joe Straus.

The long-expected announcement by Woodfill came after Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick took to… Read More

The freedom to marry became the law of the land, even here in Texas, in June of 2015. But the fight for equality didn’t end there. Texas remains a state where LGBTQ individuals can be fired from their job, denied a place to live or refused service at a business simply because of who they are or whom they love. Far-right activists and politicians continue to work to preserve the right to discriminate and roll back gains made by the LGBTQ community at the local level.

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With the Nov. 3 vote just days away, the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) is getting support from major national leaders.

Today the White House released a statement announcing the support of President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden for protecting all Houstonians — regardless of race, religion, sex, military status, sexual orientation, gender identity and other characteristics — from discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations. From the White House statement today:

“While the Administration generally does not take a formal position on specific proposals or initiatives, the President and Vice President have been strong supporters of state and local efforts to protect Americans from being discriminated against based on who they are and who they love. We’re confident that the citizens of Houston will vote in favor of fairness and equality.”

In addition, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton — who has also served as a U.S. Senator and Secretary of State — tweeted her support for HERO:

No one should face discrimination for who they are or who they love—I support efforts for equality in Houston & beyond. #HERO#YesOnProp1 -H

— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) October 29, 2015

Religious-right groups have run a vicious… Read More

You’ve probably been thinking, hey, what’s Steve Hotze up to these days? The prominent anti-LGBT zealot from Houston has, as the Houston Chronicle noted, been awfully quiet leading up to next week’s referendum to decide the fate of the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance. The silence is unusual for the outspoken Hotze, who last made headlines in August when he went on anti-gay tirade that included a sword — yes, an actual sword — and compared of gay people to Nazis (and demanded that LGBT people be driven from Houston).

Hotze, instead, is letting his money do the talking. Campaign reports examined by the Houston Chronicle show that the group opposing the ordinance has spent about $140,000 more than it has raised. Hotze has made up the deficit by, no joke, putting it on his credit card and extending a $50,000 loan, according to the Chronicle.

But why is Hotze otherwise so quiet? Here’s a possible answer:

Hotze’s less public role in the campaign is a smart strategy, said University of Houston political scientist Brandon Rottinghaus.

Hotze’s long public battle against gay rights could be a liability for the campaign when it comes to attracting more moderate voters, Rottinghaus… Read More

Achieving Together TX

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