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 far-right Houston Area Pastor Council is still trying to stir up anti-gay bigotry down on the Gulf Coast. An email blast from the extremist group today calls on pastors to attend a “‘Stand for Houston’ Citywide Pastor Luncheon” on Oct. 11:

There has never been a more important time for the pastors of Houston to follow our Lord’s directive corporately to ” ‘Come now, and let us reason together’, says the Lord.” (Isaiah 1:18)

Nothing wrong with that, of course. But the email includes a more explicit reason to attend the so-called “Emergency Summit on Defense of Life, Family and Religious Liberty”:

Did you know that there are multiple city council candidates from the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered community running to achieve a GLBT majority? More details at the luncheon.

Ah. Using fear and bigotry to crowd-build. How nice.

We have noted HAPC head Dave Welch’s obsession with homosexuality in the past. In December, for example, he criticized pastors for what he sees as their indifference to “moral perversion and sin flowing from our city hall through the radical agenda of Mayor Parker and her GLBTQIA allies.” Welch calls Mayor Annise Parker, who is openly gay,… Read More

Lynch mobs don't care about facts. And lynch mobs made up of politicians and pressure groups really, really don't care about facts. What they care about is manufacturing rage to advance political agendas. And that brings us to the story of a gay teacher and one of his students in a Fort Worth high school. Last week a Fort Worth mother charged that her 14-year-old son had been sent to the principal's office and assigned to in-school suspension for simply telling a classmate that he's a Christian and that "being a homosexual is wrong." According to a Fox News story, the mother asked for help from Liberty Counsel,  a right-wing litigation group the Southern Poverty Law Center says focuses heavily on anti-gay activism. The Fox story repeats claims that the student's comment came when a discussion in German language class somehow shifted to religion and homosexuality in Germany. The student said his side comment to a classmate got him in trouble with the teacher: “It wasn’t directed to anyone except my friend who was sitting behind me. I guess [the teacher] heard me. He started yelling. He told me he was going to write me an…… Read More

It looks like Texas Gov. Rick Perry has been staffing up for his soon-to-be-announced presidential campaign. The Texas Tribune reports that one expected member of the campaign’s press office is Robert Black, a former Texas Republican Party spokesman with a history of incendiary anti-gay statements.

In 1998 the Texas GOP barred Log Cabin Republicans, a gay Republican organization, from setting up a booth at the party’s state convention. (The state GOP also refused to allow the nonpartisan Texas Freedom Network to have a booth, by the way.) When asked to explain, Black — the party’s communications director at the time — called Log Cabin a “deviant group” and compared it to the Ku Klux Klan. And he didn’t stop there:

“We don’t allow pedophiles, transvestites and cross- dressers, either.”

Black was unapologetic and even dismissive of gay voters in a news article a few months later:

“Considering the traditional Republican principles against the homosexual lifestyle, we do not consider the gay vote to have that much of an effect on Republican politics.”

Perry should fit right in with other Perry associates. Last weekend Gov. Perry hosted a Christians-only prayer rally in Houston organized (at… Read More

Well, this isn’t a surprise. Texas Gov. Rick Perry is already walking back his comments last week that it would be “fine with me” if individual states decide to legalize gay marriage, like New York just did. It’s a states’ rights issue, he said at the time. But gay-hating pressure groups like the American Family Association and Family Research Council — whose political support Gov. Perry has been courting — started barking and growling about it. So now the governor says he was just misunderstood.

“Obviously, gay marriage is not fine with me,” Gov. Perry said today in a conversation with Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council. He and Perkins agreed that a constitutional ban on gay marriage would promote states’ rights by keeping states like Texas from being forced to recognize such marriages in other states:

“”The real fear is states like New York will change the definition of marriage for Texas,” he said. “That is the reason the Federal Marriage Amendment is being offered. It’s a small group of activists judges and really a small handful, if you will, of states and these liberal special interest groups that are intent on a redefinition, if you… Read More

Efforts to protect bullied schoolchildren in Texas have been largely unsuccessful in state legislative sessions past. But with the mounting number of high-profile tragedies across the country in the last couple of years -- with some children driven to suicide by relentless bullying -- those unsuccessful anti-bullying measures were bound to get a fresh look in the 2011 Texas Legislative session. TFN tracked three anti-bullying pieces of legislation during the 2011 session. One of those, HB 1942, was a substantial victory in the fight to keep schoolchildren safe. Sponsored by state Rep. Diane Patrick, R-Arlington, the bill won final approval with bipartisan support in the waning days of the regular session and was signed into law by Gov. Rick Perry. 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