We saw a huge win for equality in Texas at midnight last night when the clock ran out on efforts in the Texas House of Representatives to pass a bill, HB 4105, barring state and local officials from issuing or recognizing marriage licenses for gay and lesbian couples regardless of what the U.S. Supreme Court rules on the freedom to marry this summer. We’re still watching very closely for any effort to amend anti-LGBT bills onto other legislation. But let’s take a minute to celebrate an important victory over efforts by religious-right groups to enshrine discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and their families into law.

And that victory is due in part because of people from across the state who called and wrote legislators in opposition to this reckless and discriminatory bill. As the press release below notes, calls and emails flooded legislative offices all week. Businesses also called on lawmakers to stop the attack on LGBT Texans. And bill opponents in the House did a great job making sure the clock ran out before the bill could be brought to a vote. Here’s the press release we sent out at midnight:


Want to know a big reason the Texas House is dragging the Lone Star State into the public relations firestorm that engulfed Indiana this spring, when the legislature there moved to enshrine discrimination against LGBT people in state law? It’s what religious-righters want, and they hold the Texas Republican Party in their grip.

In fact, Steven Hotze, head of the Conservative Republicans of Texas, this week vomited out another anti-LGBT screed to religious-right activists. In an online post Monday, Hotze demanded that lawmakers pass House Bill 4105 by state Rep. Cecil Bell, R-Magnolia. Bell’s legislation would bar state and local officials from granting or recognizing licenses for same-sex marriages even if the U.S. Supreme Court strikes down the state ban on those unions. HB 4105 is now set to go to the floor of the Texas House on Tuesday (May 12).

Hotze’s rationale for passing such a bill? From his Monday post:

Wickedness needs to be called wickedness. The practice and promotion of sodomy and sodomatrimony is wicked. The homofascists intend on forcing Christians and everyone else to accept, condone, affirm and even celebrate sodomy as normal. The homosexuals want it taught to children starting in kindergarten so they can sear their consciences and more easily recruit your children… Read More

The Texas Legislature appears on the verge of passing Indiana-style legislation that discriminates against gay and lesbian families, barring same-sex couples from getting married even if the U.S. Supreme Court strikes down the state’s ban on those unions. We just sent out the following press release:

Civil liberties and LGBT rights organizations today joined in warning the Texas House of Representatives against passage next week of legislation intended to subvert a potential U.S. Supreme Court ruling on marriage and lock in discrimination against gay and lesbian families.

HB 4105 by state Rep. Cecil Bell, R-Magnolia, is set for debate and a vote on the floor of the Texas House of Representatives on Tuesday, May 12.

The bill would prohibit local and state officials from granting, enforcing or recognizing marriage licenses for gay and lesbian couples, and it bans public funding from being used to do so. The bill’s supporters have said their goal is to defy a potential Supreme Court ruling striking down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage.

HB 4105 is one of more than 20 proposed bills in the Texas Legislature that would enshrine in state law discrimination against gay and… Read More

We bet Steven Hotze, president of Conservative Republicans of Texas, nearly burst a blood vessel last week while writing his email rant attacking the freedom to marry for gay and lesbian couples.

The long screed to his email list calls on readers to contact Texas legislators in support of HB 4105 by state Rep. Cecil Bell, R-Magnolia. (It also asks for money — “to protect Biblical marriage,” of course.) HB 4105 would bar the use of state or local funds to license or otherwise recognize the marriage of a same-sex couple. The law also bars state and local employees from granting or recognizing such a license.

Hotze — like Rep. Bell — insists the law is needed in case the Supreme Court strikes down the Texas ban on same-sex marriage as unconstitutional. HB 4105 and other bills that promote and even require discrimination against LGBT Texans and their families would lead to months and maybe years of litigation if the Supreme Court strikes down the marriage ban. That would impose great harm, financial and otherwise, on loving families simply trying to exercise their constitutionally protected rights.

Some excerpts from Hotze’s rant:

This law will enable Attorney General Ken Paxton to safeguard Texas against… Read More

Even as the U.S. Supreme Court considers arguments that could lead to a historic ruling on the freedom to marry, it has become increasingly clear that Texas lawmakers are engaged in an aggressive strategy to lock in discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. If that strategy is successful in the Lone Star State, we’ll almost certainly see it used in other states across the country. The Texas Freedom Network today joined with the ACLU of Texas and Equality Texas in sending out the following press release:

Civil liberties groups warned today that Texas lawmakers are leading the way on a strategy to subvert a potential Supreme Court ruling in favor of same-sex marriage and enshrine discrimination against gay and transgender people in state law.

Bills now moving in the Texas Legislature go far beyond discriminatory bills that sparked uproar recently in Indiana and Arkansas, said Terri Burke, executive director of the ACLU of Texas.

“Under the guise of protecting religious liberty, Texas lawmakers are pioneering an aggressive strategy for preserving the right to discriminate against gay and transgender families no matter what the Supreme Court says about marriage,” Burke said. “The bills that are the foundation… Read More