Graphic by GLAAD

Defeating nearly two dozen discriminatory anti-LGBT bills during the recently concluded session of the Texas Legislature took a lot of hard work from some great groups working outside the Capitol with activists and people like you who care about these things. And it was also the hard work of LGBT-supportive lawmakers working — some loudly, others quietly — to kill these bills.

But credit where credit is due: a shout-out is owed to Indiana Gov. Mike Pence. Without you and your actions, which sadly inflicted an undeserved black eye on the good people of the Hoosier state, defeating the bills in Austin would have been a little bit harder.

It was your signature, Gov. Pence, on a religious-right supported bill designed to discriminate against LGBT people that ignited a nationwide firestorm and gave lawmakers in Texas and all over the rest of the country clear evidence that America is losing its appetite for anti-LGBT laws.

Pence’s timing, for Texas purposes, was impeccable. He signed the bill on March 26, just as the Texas legislative session was gaining steam. Seeing the fallout, the Texas business community became further galvanized… Read More

One of the most remarkable outcomes of the 2015 session of the Texas Legislature is the complete failure of the broadest legislative assault on the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community anywhere in the country. It’s so remarkable in large part because Texas is deeply red state in which religious-right/tea party activists make up a powerful part of the Republican Party’s base.

Moreover, consider that while anti-LGBT discrimination bills were failing in the Texas Legislature, they were passing in other states. For example, North Carolina’s lawmakers are on the verge of allowing public officials to refuse to issue marriage licenses to any couple whose relationship violates that official’s religion beliefs. Lawmakers in Alabama are getting closer to scrapping marriage licenses altogether — for everyone. They would force couples to enter into a contract and file it at the local courthouse. This process could create new obstacles for same-sex couples even if the Supreme Court rules they have the constitutional right to marry.

Following last November’s elections, religious-right and tea party groups in Texas confidently prepared their campaign to enshrine in state law discrimination against LGBT people in a wide range of areas, including marriage and public services. When the Texas Legislature convened in January, observers worried were that many… Read More

As the Texas Legislature prepares to gavel out at the close of the 2015 session, we’re preparing a summary of what happened at the Capitol. So while we pull that together, here is the end-of-session press release we just sent out:

Texas Freedom Network President Kathy Miller issued the following statements on the end of the 2015 session of the Texas Legislature today:

On the effect of tea party extremists on the Legislature: “This session highlighted how tea party ideologues have slowed progress and skewed legislative priorities with scorched-earth tactics and extreme, uncompromising demands. Lawmakers wasted a lot of time on issues like guns, abortion and discriminating against gay and transgender Texans. Meanwhile, they failed to address truly serious problems that concern most Texas families, like underfunded public schools, lack of access to health care and the millions of dollars that anonymous special interests spend to influence our elections. That’s what happens when you try to please extremists who threaten and stomp their feet when they don’t get their way.

Tea party temper tantrums shouldn’t dictate legislative priorities. But they will until more Texans turn out at the polls and stop letting an extreme, vocal minority define… Read More

As the 2015 session of the Texas Legislature comes to a close today, the Texas Freedom Network is joining with our fantastic coalition partners to celebrate the complete failure of the religious right’s broad legislative assault on the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. We just sent out the following press release:

While bills promoting discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people have passed legislatures in states such as Indiana, Arkansas and North Carolina this year, civil liberties and LGBT-rights groups are celebrating the failure of similar bills in the Texas Legislature. Four of those groups issued the following statements on today’s close of the 2015 legislative session in the Lone Star State:

Kathy Miller, President, Texas Freedom Network “It’s frustrating that some lawmakers wasted so much time and energy pushing a ‘culture war’ agenda that would do nothing to fund our schools, repair crumbling bridges and roads or keep our economy strong. The passage of these bills would have been a big step backward for Texas at a time when a large and growing majority of Americans oppose discrimination against the LGBT community and support the freedom to marry for gay and lesbian couples. So we’re… Read More

Senate Resolution 1028 (click to enlarge)

The Texas Legislature will leave town when the session concludes this Monday. Going into the session, TFN and our allies knew we would be on the defensive on several issues. This was especially true on LGBT rights because of the impending U.S. Supreme Court decision, expected next month, that could once and for all bring the freedom to marry to Texas and the handful of other states where it still isn’t legal.

We got what we expected. Far-right lawmakers filed more than 20 anti-LGBT bills designed specifically to discriminate. According to some reports, that was a record number for any state legislature in any one year. Most of the bills, though, appear dead. It now looks like all the anti-equality crowd will be able to claim as a victory is the so-called “Pastor Protection” bill, which basically just re-states existing law.

That’s it, nothing more.… Read More