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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The Latest on LGBTQ Rights

Today Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who is trailing badly in his campaign for the White House, sharply denounced President Obama’s decision to require that U.S. agencies abroad “promote and protect the human rights” of gay people in other countries. Gov. Perry’s stunning statements came on the same day that the Obama administration announced the new policy. The governor called the policy a “silly idea,” saying it is “not in America’s interests” and is part of President Obama’s alleged “war on traditional American values”:

“Promoting special rights for gays in foreign countries is not in America’s interests and not worth a dime of taxpayers’ money.”

The governor said his position went beyond concerns related to national security interests:

“This is just the most recent example of an administration at war with people of faith in this country. Investing tax dollars promoting a lifestyle many [Americans] of faith find so deeply objectionable is wrong. President Obama has again mistaken America’s tolerance for different lifestyles with an endorsement of those lifestyles. I will not make that mistake.”

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton discussed the administration’s new policy in a major speech about human rights in Geneva, Switzerland,… Read More

Texas Eagle Forum’s December “News and Notes” e-newsletter offers more of the bigotry and pro-ignorance rhetoric we’ve come to expect from that far-right group.

Part of TEF President Pat Carlson’s email notes a Dallas Morning News report about a whisper campaign that led State Board of Education member George Clayton, R-Richardson, to acknowledge recently that he is gay. The newsletter continues:

Because of redistricting, all 15 SBOE seats will be up for election in 2012. We need to recruit and elect/re-elect true conservatives to these important positions so Texas will not go the way of Massachusetts or California in mandating K-12 pro-homosexual education in the classroom.

Gay people can’t be “true conservatives”? Perhaps Carlson’s version of a “true conservative” is one who promotes fear and hate toward people who are different. And what exactly does she mean by a “pro-homosexual education in the classroom”? To our knowledge, Clayton has never even mentioned the issue of sexual orientation in his time on the state board (not, at least, until his personal life was the subject of a whisper campaign by political opponents). Most likely, Carlson simply wants to make sure that state board members don’t… Read More

Seeking to revive his troubled presidential campaign, Texas Gov. Rick Perry appears to have returned to a tactic he’s often used in the past: pandering to far-right groups that demonize gay families and promote intolerance and discrimination toward other favorite targets.

The Des Moines Register’s political news website reports that Gov. Perry has signed a controversial marriage pledge promoted by the far-right group Family Leader in Iowa. So far U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann and former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum are the only other Republican presidential candidates who have signed the pledge, although Newt Gingrich’s campaign has indicated that the former U.S. House speaker will also sign it.

ThinkProgress notes part of what the pledge says about gay people:

“The pledge likens homosexuality to polygamy, adultery, or polyandry and asks candidates to vow that being gay is a choice that poses serious health risks like ‘shorter life expectancy.’

But the pledge is insulting to more than just gay Americans. One Republican presidential candidate, former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson, has called the measure “offensive,” “unrepublican” and a “promise to discriminate”:

“In one concise document, they manage to condemn gays, single parents, single individuals, divorcees, Muslims,… Read More

Are we about to see a repeat of the hateful campaign tactics religious-righters used to win election to the Texas State Board of Education in the 1990s? Back then hundreds of thousands of dollars from San Antonio businessman James Leininger funded coordinated campaigns that claimed Democratic board incumbents supported the "radical homosexual agenda" and wanted to teach students about gay sex and "lesbian adoption." One especially incendiary and misleading campaign mailer used by multiple far-right candidates featured a photo of two shirtless men (one black, one white) kissing passionately. "Liberals" on the state board, the mailer charged, wanted students to have access to a "how-to guide on homosexuality and homosexual sex." Unfortunately, those tactics helped some far-right candidates win their races. Now we're seeing signs that the 2012 State Board of Education elections could feature the same kind of hateful political trash. Last week, in fact, a growing whisper campaign led Republican incumbent board member George Clayton of Richardson (in the Dallas area) to send out a press release acknowledging that he is gay. The release reads: "It has come to my attention that one of my opponents in my bid for reelection to the State Board of…… Read More

Dave Welch, head of the religious–right group Houston Area Pastor Council, is obsessed with homosexuality and, especially, Houston’s openly lesbian mayor, Annise Parker. As Houstonians prepare to head to the polls for local elections next month, Welch is promoting a web video about Mayor Parker’s “GLBT agenda for Houston.” The video includes various clips and quotes from Parker, who is seeking re-election. Repeated twice (and in slow-motion) is a scene in which the mayor leans over to (gasp!) peck her life-partner on the cheek on inauguration day a couple of years ago. The video treats that touching and very G-rated moment almost as if the audience had witnessed a live, woman-on-woman porn scene on stage. (Mayors gone wild!) In today’s email promoting the video, Welch shrieks that Houston has become a “sin-sick” city:

It is astounding to have to say that most Houston citizens – including most Christians and pastors – are still unaware of the radical nature of Mayor Annise Parker’s commitment to imposing the full “San Francisco Style” Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgendered, etc. agenda. … We have a sin-sick city and we need the power of God through Jesus Christ changing lives and changing… Read More

Texas Freedom Network

It took years to convince the @TXSBOE to create a Mexican American studies course for the state's public schools. It's great to see school districts offering it to students. cbsloc.al/3kKHvgR