This is hardly a coincidence. The State Affairs Committee of the Texas Senate has scheduled a public hearing for Senate Bill 6, the transgender discrimination bill, on the same day that a parade of prominent anti-LGBT speakers will join Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Attorney General Ken Paxton at a so-called "Pastors' Briefing" at the Texas Capitol. Read More

Faith leaders teach that lying is a sin. So why do religious-righters distort the truth so shamelessly in pushing their extreme political agenda? You can see at least two big examples in Texas right now.

One of the biggest falsehoods religious-right groups are pushing right now is the claim that Margaret Sanger founded Planned Parenthood to help exterminate the African-American population through abortion and other methods. Today the right-wing Texas Pastor Council, a political front group run by odious hate-monger Dave Welch, tweeted a partial quote from Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger:

“We do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population.”

We won’t help spread this nonsense by posting the full tweet here, but you can see it at the link above. The tweet includes a photograph and a phone number activists can call to demand that the Smithsonian Institution remove a bust of Sanger.

But wait. Did Sanger want to exterminate African Americans? Of course not. And PolitiFact has already debunked that claim as a ridiculous lie. It did so more than four years ago when checking a similar claim from Herman Cain, then a Republican presidential candidate. Cain had claimed that Planned Parenthood was guilty of genocide for planning to “kill… 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

Redefining #marriage “equals” no safeguards against “freedom to marry” multiple people for love, polygamy. #txlege

— Jonathan Saenz (@jonathansaenzTX) January 22, 2015

“Redefining #marriage “equals” no safeguards against “freedom to marry” multiple people for love, polygamy.”

Jonathan Saenz, the lawyer/lobbyist who heads the anti-gay group Texas Values, is once again making arguments Americans heard long ago when interracial couples sought the right to marry.

Greg Johnson, a professor at the Vermont Law School, has compared the arguments made against same-sex marriage today to those made against interracial marriage. The U.S. Supreme Court overturned interracial marriage bans in 1967 in Loving v. Virginia. Writing for the Vermont Law Review in 2012, Johnson noted the similarities in arguments against interracial marriage then and same-sex marriage now, including the argument — as Saenz makes — that allowing same-sex marriage will lead to polygamy:

Defenders of traditional marriage back then worried that allowing interracial marriage would lead to, as one court put it, “the father living with his daughter, the son with the mother,” and the “Turk or Mohammedan, with his numerous wives, [] establish[ing] his harem at the doors of the capitol .… Read More

Religious-right groups are, predictably, spitting venom over President Obama’s executive order barring discrimination against LGBT employees of the federal government and government contractors. The executive order, which the president announced on Monday, does not include an exemption allowing employers to discriminate for religious reasons.

The executive order did keep a provision from a 2002 executive order signed by President George W. Bush that allows religiously affiliated contractors to continue to give preference to workers of a certain religion. But religious-right groups also want employers to be able to fire or refuse to hire LGBT people and claim religious beliefs as the reason. (What about employers who have religious objections to women who work outside the home? Or white supremacists who base their hatred of racial minorities and Jews at least partly on their religious beliefs about what the Bible teaches?)

The executive order does not bar anti-LGBT discrimination by all employers — just by the government and contractors who do business with the government. A broader discrimination ban would require action by Congress. A weak anti-discrimination bill, the Employment Nondiscrimation Act (ENDA), has passed the Senate, but House Republicans have refused to take up the measure. A growing number of gay rights and civil libertiesRead More

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