We told you over the holidays about Texas state Rep. Jonathan Stickland’s offensive “joke” about marital rape: “Rape is non existent in marriage, take what you want my friend!” Since then, Scott Braddock of the Austin-based political website Quorum Report has reported that Stickland, R-Fort Worth, is one of five Tea Partiers in the Texas House who voted last spring against legislation designed to make it easier to bring sexual predators to justice.

Stickland, and state Reps. Reps. Matt Rinaldi, Matt Schaefer, Tony Tinderholt, and Cecil Bell — all Republicans and Tea Party/religious-right heroes — voted against House Bill 189, which drops the statute of limitations in criminal sexual assault cases in which there is “probable cause that the defendant committed the same or similar crime against five or more victims.” It also extends the statute of limitations in civil cases against sex offenders. The bill passed with large majorities (just five “no” votes on the final bill), and Gov. Greg Abbott signed it into law.

Braddock’s Dec. 31 article about the issue (behind a paywall) also notes that Rep. Schaefer’s chief of staff was recently arrested for soliciting a minor for sex. (We’ll note that the five Tea Partiers/religious-righters are also hardline “traditional values” lawmakers opposed… Read More

The Texas Observer has an interesting interview with state Rep. Cecil Bell, R-Magnolia, who has filed a number of bills (such as this one) this year that would protect the ability to discriminate against LGBT people. Bell says the purpose of his bills are to defend states’ rights and religious freedom.

Check out the video clip included with the article. When asked about any limits on the ability of businesses to discriminate, Rep. Bell replies:

“I think they should be free to turn away anyone they don’t want to do business with.”

The Texas Observer reporter then asks whether that means businesses should be able to discriminate against African Americans and other racial or ethnic minorities for religious reasons. Rep. Bell replies:

“I don’t think there are any religious objections to people for the basis of their skin color or otherwise. I think that has more to do with their choices and decisions in life.”

Really, Rep. Bell? We’ve seen religion misused to discriminate on the basis of skin color quite often. Where have you been?

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A Texas legislator who opposes same-sex marriage has a message for federal courts and gay people: “Screw you.”

The U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals is set to consider on Friday a case that could overturn the ban on same-sex marriage in Texas. But state Rep. Cecil Bell, R-Magnolia, wants Texas to ignore a ruling that the ban violates the U.S. Constitution. So he has filed House Bill 623, the so-called “Preservation of Sovereignty and Marriage Act,” which would bar the use of any public funds to enforce a federal court order to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

It gets worse. The bill also would strip salary, pension and other employment benefits from any local or state official who respects a court decision by recognizing, granting or enforcing a marriage license for a same-sex couple. Moreover, it requires state courts to dismiss any legal action challenging the bill’s provisions and forces the plaintiff to pay all attorney and court costs. And for good measure, the bill declares that the state is not subject, because of the Eleventh Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, to lawsuits over the provisions of the bill.

In other words: “We don’t care about no stinkin’ Constitution. We’ll treat people we don’t like… Read More

Texas Freedom Network

We’re live from Equality Lobby Day: pscp.tv/w/b1_VazExMT…