This video is of Rev. Leslie Jackson of United Church of Christ in Houston. Rev. Jackson was one of the featured speakers at Faith Advocacy Day, a gathering at the Texas Capitol of people of faith and faith leaders who support full equality for LGBT Texans. A transcript of his remarks can be found below.

We are here today to assert that our faith does not undermine LGBT Equality in the state of Texas, it supports it. LGBT Equality is not a distant cousin to faith, it is its progeny. Our advocacy and relentless pursuit of equality in this state, is a call that joins in the tradition of civil rights leaders and all those who have sought to create a better society for all citizens. We join our voices with all those throughout history who have cried: “We demand equality!”

Equality is righteous, it is justice, and it is God in action. We oppose the use of power to discriminate against our neighbors, friends, and family. We will not stand for it, we won’t sit for it, we won’t roll over and play dead, nor will we be complicit in such sinfulness. Instead, we will work to… Read More

Hundreds of clergy and other faith leaders from Protestant, Catholic, Unitarian and Jewish congregations gathered today at the Texas Capitol to speak out for LGBT equality. The Texas Freedom Network co-sponsored the event with Equality Texas. Here’s the press release we sent out:

FAITH LEADERS CALL FOR EQUALITY FOR LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL AND TRANSGENDER TEXANS

Discrimination Should Be Unacceptable to People of Faith, Speakers Tell Crowd at Texas Capitol

With political battles over marriage and nondiscrimination measures heating up, hundreds of clergy and other people of faith gathered at the Texas Capitol today to call on lawmakers to end discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.

Speaking at an event on the Capitol steps, the Rev. Eric Folkerth of Northaven United Methodist Church in Dallas noted the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender members of his own congregation.

“The idea that any of them might be discriminated against under state or local laws is absolutely unacceptable,” Folkerth said. “Not only is this unacceptable to me as a minister of the Gospel, but it’s unacceptable to straight members of my congregation, who cannot fathom why any community in Texas would discriminate against LGBT people.”

United… Read More

Last Thursday the Texas Freedom Network joined with six other organizations in launching a multi-year campaign for reproductive health care in Texas: Trust. Respect. Access. Here’s the press release we sent out:

Coalition of Seven Organizations Launches Reproductive Health Care Campaign in Texas

AUSTIN – At a press conference today, a coalition of seven organizations launched a multi-year campaign, Trust. Respect. Access., to promote policies that restore trust in Texans to make their own reproductive health care decisions, respect for health care professionals’ judgment, and access to the full range of reproductive health care. The coalition includes: ACLU of Texas, NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH), Planned Parenthood Texas Votes, Texas Freedom Network, Texas Research Institute, and Whole Woman’s Health.

In their remarks on coalition-endorsed legislation, State Reps. Mary González, Donna Howard, and Jessica Farrar highlighted how their proposals would further the coalition’s initiative. Dinorah Martinez, a community health worker in the Rio Grande Valley, addressed the profound barriers to reproductive health care access, and spoke of ways Texans are mobilizing around reproductive justice concerns.

Fatimah Gifford, Director of Marketing and Public Relations, Whole Woman’s Health: “We’ve seen firsthand the devastating consequences… Read More

Reproductive health care in Texas, including abortion care and access to birth control and family planning services, has been under constant attack in Texas. Now politicians are trying to drag our public schools into the abortion wars.

At least three proposed bills in the current Texas legislative session focus on abortion and public school classrooms.

House Bill 205 by state Rep. Jeff Leach, R-Plano, and Senate Bill 477 by state Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham, would bar an entity or individual that performs abortions or an affiliate of an entity or individual that performs abortions from providing sex education information to public schools. That this legislation is really directed at Planned Parenthood, which provides effective sex education courses and instructional materials, is hardly a secret.

Leach proposed similar legislation in 2013, although his bill two years ago (which failed to pass) would have also required schools to get prior permission from parents before allowing their children to attend any sex education class. HB 205 this year doesn’t include that provision. (Parents already have the right to keep their children out of sex education classes.) But the new bill still has the state dictating to local school districts rules they must follow on sex education,… Read More

State Rep. Molly White, R-Belton, is sticking to her guns and not apologizing for anti-Muslim comments she made on Facebook a week ago. So maybe it’s time to put a final period on this whole thing. For now. Maybe.

We know White is not apologizing because she’s pretty much said so in several attempts to explain, and shift the blame, for her comments. She started by saying her comments were taken out of context and blown out proportion. She also said she didn’t expect anyone outside her district to see her comments, nevermind the fact that she posted them on the Internet.

The latest explanation/blame-shifting came Wednesday, again on Facebook. On her page, White blamed “political correctness” for the whole thing:

Last week during Texas Muslim Capitol Day, I posted a statement on my Facebook page to bring attention to a serious problem facing Texas and the United States of America. Instead of understanding the comment, the political correctness that dominates our public dialogue sought to construe the statement into something intolerant, bigoted and anti-American. This politically correct syndrome seeks to inflict social discipline and tolerance reminders on the perpetrators of candid statements with the intention… Read More