How Did the Tea Party/Religious Right Lose So Badly on LGBT Discrimination in the Texas Legislature?Share
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
Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are as evil as Nazis? That sure seems to be the message in an email on Thursday from two Texas-based, religious-right groups, Dave Welch’s Texas Pastor Council and Rick Scarborough’s Vision America.
The email insists that “Christians must rally to defend Biblical marriage in Texas.” It then calls on readers to contact lawmakers in support of legislation that “defunds homosexual marriage” in Texas:
HB 4105 is a simple, two-page bill that affirms our existing law and also defunds homosexual marriage. This law will enable our Attorney General Ken Paxton to safeguard Texas against the potential upcoming judicial supremacy by the U.S. Supreme Court. The passage of HB 4105 now will enable Texas to defend against the imminent out-of-state pressure to impose homosexual marriage on Texas beginning the last week in June.
House Bill 4105 by state Rep. Cecil Bell, R-Magnolia, would do no such thing. While the bill would attempt to prohibit the use of state or local funds to license or support the marriage of gay and lesbian couples, it wouldn’t trump a Supreme Court ruling. The U.S. Constitution demands that Texas abide by such a ruling, just as the state had to abide by rulings striking down racial segregation in schools in… Read More
Religious-right activists are now directly attacking the faith of elected city officials in Plano in an increasingly vitriolic campaign to repeal the North Texas city’s new anti-discrimination ordinance.
The ordinance, passed in December, bars discrimination against LGBT people in employment, housing and public accommodations. Religious-right activists have been trying for weeks to frighten Plano residents by arguing that the ordinance will endanger women and children in public restrooms.
Those deceitful appeals to fear and bigotry are appalling. But the far-right Texas Pastor Council/Houston Area Pastor Council is also suggesting that God supports discrimination. In an email to activists today, the group even uses violent rhetoric in charging that Plano’s mayor and City Council members who support the ordinance have rejected God:
“Remember, it is Mayor Harry LaRosiliere and the five city council members who railroaded this ordinance through with complete disrespect to the community and good government practices who ‘threw the first punch.’ LaRosiliere and the council declared that God either doesn’t exist or His word is false and that even basic biological facts are up for grabs. They assaulted the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God – not us.”
Who is behind efforts to toss out of office two Pflugerville Independent School District board members who support giving the domestic partners of district employees access to health insurance? Pflugerville is located in Travis County, and the school district includes parts of north Austin. Various religious-right groups and activists have criticized Pflugerville school board members for supporting the domestic partners policy last year, and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott on April 29 issued a formal opinion charging that the policy violates the state Constitution. The new board could decide whether and how to revise the district’s policy to meet any constitutional objections.
The day after the attorney general released his opinion, the Texas Pastor Council circulated by email a Pflugerville pastor’s letter to members of his congregation. You can read the full letter below. In his letter, Senior Pastor Dr. Steve Washburn tells members of Pflugerville’s First Baptist Church that God wants them to “vote for the candidates who best represent and defend the Lord’s moral values as He reveals them in Scripture.” His letter goes on to demand that “we are to vote for the candidates who oppose” giving “immoral sexual partners” access to the… Read More
Religious-Right Group Honors Texas AG Greg Abbott, Then Leader Prays for God to Destroy Marriage Equality SupportersShare
Just days after Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott received an award on March 22 from the far-right Houston Area Pastor Council/Texas Pastor Council, the group’s executive director says supporters of marriage equality for gay and lesbian Americans are “enemies of God” and is calling on Christians to pray for their destruction.
The Pastor Council’s Dave Welch issued his call for “imprecatory prayer” on Monday, the day before the U.S. Supreme Court took up the first of two marriage equality cases it is hearing this week. Welch compared those cases to the landmark Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that protected the right of women to choose whether to have an abortion. Welch said the Roe decision had been handed down while abortion wasn’t socially accepted:
“In contrast, the enemies of God have been much wiser and have turned the hearts and minds of many if not most people away from His standards of morality and His design of gender and marriage – preceding the Supreme Court case and decision.
The court will issue a ruling in June so it is incumbent on God’s generals to lead our congregations in imprecatory prayer through then – and of… Read More