Religious-Righters Threaten to Sue Plano for Right to Discriminate

by Dan Quinn

Plano on Monday joined the growing list of cities across Texas with ordinances prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity as well as other characteristics like sex, race, religion and military status. Predictably, religious-righters are angry that they might be stopped from firing, evicting or denying public services to people they don’t like — especially gay or transgendered people.

Dave Welch, executive director of the right-wing Houston Area Pastor Council, sent a particularly offensive email to the Plano City Council. (HAPC is also trying to overturn the the Equal Rights Ordinance passed by the Houston City Council in May.) In his email on Monday, Welch trots out the tired (and discredited) scare tactic about “biological males” using women’s restrooms. He sneeringly refers to LGBT people as the “sexually and gender confused.” He even claims that LGBT people don’t face discrimination:

“On behalf of our ethnic minority pastors we openly challenge the deceptive and offensive use of these ordinances as a ‘Trojan Horse’ for those with an agenda to hijack the Civil Rights movement use the power of public policy and force acceptance of their sexual behavior and gender confusion on the rest of society. Let us make this clear – there is NO DOCUMENTABLE evidence of class or even legitimate anecdotal discrimination against the tiny LGBTQ population.”

It’s impossible to treat as credible someone who says such ignorant and twisted nonsense. After all, Welch himself is promoting the right to engage in something he claims doesn’t exist — discrimination again LGBT people.

The Austin-based, anti-gay lobby group Texas Values also sent out an email on Monday calling the anti-discrimination measure in Plano “dangerous and divisive.” It also trotted out the absurd scare tactic about men using women’s restrooms:

“[T]he ordinance does not specifically protect women and children against men using women’s bathrooms.”

Liberty Institute, the Plano-based litigation group that birthed Texas Values, sent an email to the City Council warning that it will sue:

“If the Proposed Ordinance is enacted, Liberty Institute will be forced to take legal action against the city to fight such a blatant attack on the religious liberty rights of the residents of the City of Plano.”

That’s right: they’ll go to court to defend the right to fire law-abiding people or toss them out on the street simply because of who they are. Jesus’ command to love one another? They say: “Nevermind!”

Good on the Plano City Council for doing the right thing: taking a stand for equality and against discrimination.