State Rep. Rafael Anchia, D-Dallas, is serving in his sixth session of the Texas Legislature and had never made a personal privilege speech. Until yesterday.

Anchia went on the House floor to speak about a bill he’s filed in several sessions. It’s a reasonable bill that simply removes the requirement that supplemental birth certificates for adopted children must list a man and a woman as parents. But the parents of some adopted children are same-sex couples. So this small change would, for example, allow such adopted children to face one less headache when acquiring a passport or to obtain benefits if a parent dies. Rep. Anchia makes this point very clearly in the video clip below.

The bill is pro-family legislation that is opposed by the purportedly pro-family group Texas Values, which Anchia called out (though not by name) for spreading lies about the bill.

The bill is languishing in committee, prompting Anchia’s speech. Note at the end of the video clip that state Rep. Byron Cook, R-Corsicana, the chair of the committee considering Anchia’s bill, reaffirms his support of the legislation.

Watch the speech:

Read More

Plano on Monday joined the growing list of cities across Texas with ordinances prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity as well as other characteristics like sex, race, religion and military status. Predictably, religious-righters are angry that they might be stopped from firing, evicting or denying public services to people they don’t like — especially gay or transgendered people.

Dave Welch, executive director of the right-wing Houston Area Pastor Council, sent a particularly offensive email to the Plano City Council. (HAPC is also trying to overturn the the Equal Rights Ordinance passed by the Houston City Council in May.) In his email on Monday, Welch trots out the tired (and discredited) scare tactic about “biological males” using women’s restrooms. He sneeringly refers to LGBT people as the “sexually and gender confused.” He even claims that LGBT people don’t face discrimination:

“On behalf of our ethnic minority pastors we openly challenge the deceptive and offensive use of these ordinances as a ‘Trojan Horse’ for those with an agenda to hijack the Civil Rights movement use the power of public policy and force acceptance of their sexual behavior and gender confusion on the rest of society. Let us make this clear – there is NO DOCUMENTABLE… Read More

We need to take a moment to unpack one of the religious right’s favorite talking points about marriage equality, or, more specifically, the same-sex marriage ban currently in the Texas Constitution that has been challenged in federal court.

The ban was approved by voters in 2005, which was — if our math is correct — one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight — nine! That’s almost 10! The ban was approved by voters almost an entire 10 years ago.

A lot can and has happened in nine years.

Since 2005 we’ve lived through two presidential elections, three Winter Olympics and two Summer Olympics, one great recession and, more relevant to this blog post, a big change in attitudes toward the LGBT community and about equality. A majority of Americans now favors same sex-marriage. And in this state, a plurality of Texans now feel the same way, and the percentage is rising.

But over at the far-right group Texas Values, which opposes equality for the LGBT community, it’s as if 2005 was just yesterday. Look at this screen capture taken from the group’s website.

You’ll notice Texas Values uses the present tense. You can often… 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

A Texas religious-righter is providing a case study in trying to become a leading voice for a cause that history is leaving behind. Jonathan Saenz, the lawyer/lobbyist who heads up Texas Values, has clearly decided that sounding like a raving hate-monger will make him a big boy among anti-gay extremists.

As Media Matters reported on Tuesday, Saenz is now arguing that supporters of LGBT equality are out to imprison anyone who opposes them. Speaking on a right-wing radio program last week, Saenz even agreed with the show’s host that supporters of state and local laws that protect LGBT people from discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations want to see opponents thrown into into concentration camps. Says Saenz:

That’s right, that’s right. You know, they tried to do something like that here in Texas. … But I mean, this is what they want. I mean, there’s no question. I’ve seen it. I’ve seen them try to do it with legislation here in Texas at the state level. It is a goal of theirs to put people in jail that disagree with homosexual marriage, without question — or the homosexual lifestyle.

That kind of twisted, hyperbolic rhetoric is nothing new from Saenz. Earlier this month Media Matters offered a longer reportRead More

Texas Freedom Network

One week to go until The Best of Sex Ed with @Owen_Egerton! A few tickets remain. Get yours here --> bit.ly/30fxG0x pic.twitter.com/EyJs…