Even as Republicans who voted for the anti-gay discrimination bill in Arizona now admit they made a serious mistake, some religious-right activists are doubling down in their hate campaign. In fact, some just seem downright obsessed about gay people. Case in point: Jonathan Saenz at Texas Values, the lobby arm of Plano-based Liberty Institute.

At times Saenz’s Twitter feed appears to be almost a constant stream of posts about LGBT people, from his defense of discredited “research” about gay parenting to support of government-sanctioned discrimination. On Tuesday, for example, Saenz let loose with a long stream of posts about his frustration with critics of the Arizona bill. The bill would allow any person or entity — including businesses and nonprofit organizations — to offer their religious beliefs as an excuse to discriminate against LGBT people.

Some of Saenz’s tweets sound almost unhinged from reality. And many seem designed to frighten people into believing things that are simply not true. He inaccurately claims, for example, that churches could be forced to perform same-sex marriages if Arizona’s governor vetoes the bill:

He absurdly insists that businesses opposing government-sanctioned discrimination against LGBT people also oppose religious freedom:

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Was it wrong for the federal courts to force an end to school segregation and the ban on interracial marriage in Texas? One might be excused for wondering whether the folks at Texas Values think so.

Texas Values, lobby arm of the right-wing, Plano-based group Liberty Institute, insists today that Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott “stands up against lesbian mayor.” The anti-gay group notes that Abbott, a Republican running for governor this year, has filed court briefs in two lawsuits regarding Houston Mayor Annise Parker’s move to extend insurance benefits to the same-sex spouses of city employees who were married in states where such unions are legal. Abbott’s briefs are in opposition to that policy.

The Texas Constitution and state law bar recognition of same-sex marriages, but such unions are legal in 17 states and the District of Columbia. As the Houston Chronicle reports, Parker and the city attorney support extending benefits to married spouses of city employees by pointing to last year’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling against the federal Defense of Marriage Act, other relevant case law, and the federal government’s recognition of same-sex marriages conducted where such unions are legal.

Jonathan Saenz, the… Read More

by Jose Medina

Question: Did you do nothing today other than sit on the couch and watch TV? Congratulations, your day was far more productive than the folks over at the far-right group Texas Values, who spent the day at the Capitol fighting an imaginary opponent alongside state Rep. Dwayne Bohac, R-Houston, and others in the latest round of the still non-existent "War on Christmas." Let's be clear and call this what is is: It's a fundraising scheme by Texas Values, which is the lobbying arm of Liberty Institute. It is also an excuse for Texas Values to gin up publicity with, potentially, a frivolous lawsuit against [your school district's name here]. It's sleigh-chaisin' instead of ambulance-chasin', if you will. So it's time to treat this campaign with the dignity it deserves, by throwing a couple of pies in its face. Texas Values and its lawyer-lobbyist Jonathan Saenz (pictured with Santas below) want to pretend like they're valiantly defending Christmas from the threat of, well, no one? Fine. We'll pitch in and create some ads for them. Because everyone needs a lawyer ... even Santa. Read More

We thought it was revealing that Texas Values, the lobby arm of the Plano-based religious-right group Liberty Institute, was mostly AWOL during the science textbook battle at the State Board of Education (SBOE) this year. It turns out that the group prefers to scare its members with myths and fantasies rather than work on serious issues — even issues that once dominated its time.

Four years ago the group’s chief lobbyist in Austin was a regular presence at SBOE debates over the revision of science curriculum standards. He portrayed those debates as critical to the future of science education even as his anti-evolution group argued for standards based on junk science. The group hailed the SBOE’s 2009 approval of flawed science standards that creationists hoped would force publishers to water down instruction on evolution and climate change in their new textbooks.

But since publishers submitted their new textbooks for adoption this past April, the Texas Values blog hasn’t said a word about it. The group sent a staff member to testify at an SBOE hearing about the textbooks in September, but its blog and emails to members have yet to mention the board’s final vote in… Read More

Liberty Institute, a viciously anti-gay religious-right litigation group based in Plano near Dallas, announced today that it will represent a college football analyst who was dumped by Fox Sports for anti-gay comments he made when running for a U.S. Senate seat from Texas in 2012.

In an email to his group’s supporters this afternoon, Liberty Institute President Kelly Shackelford said:

I’m writing to let you know that well-known college football analyst Craig James has hired Liberty Institute to represent him after Fox Sports made national headlines by terminating him because of his personal religious beliefs.

Attorneys for Liberty Institute have contacted Fox Sports Southwest.  We are demanding that they reinstate Craig to his position as on-air college football analyst and stop discriminating against him.

Here is a letter from Liberty Institute to Fox Sports. If Fox Sports fails to rehire James, the group writes, “millions of Americans will be left with the impression that you do not respect religious liberty and Liberty Institute will be forced to pursue subsequent legal options.”

James is a former SMU and NFL running back who worked as a college football analyst for ESPN before running for a U.S. Senate seat from Texas in… Read More