TFN Statement: SB1978 Is about Discrimination

by Dan Quinn

The Senate just gave preliminary approval to an amended version of SB1978, the religious right’s so-called “Save Chick-fil-A” bill shielding businesses that promote discrimination against LGBT Texans. We just sent out the following statement:

TFN STATEMENT: SB1978 IS REALLY ABOUT PROMOTING ANTI-LGBT SENTIMENT, UNWORTHY OF TRUST

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 15, 2019

AUSTIN – Texas Freedom Network President Kathy Miller criticized the Senate’s preliminary approval of SB1978 today and the misleading arguments made by its supporters:

“Our federal and state constitutions as well as Texas law already protect religious freedom for all, including the right to membership in or affiliation with a religious organization. So if religious freedom is really the goal here, this bill is unnecessary.

As originally drafted, SB1978 and its House companion would allow businesses to use their religious beliefs as a legal justification for discriminating against LGBT Texans. But legal and constitutional experts have never had the opportunity to testify in the relevant House and Senate committees about the potential effects of the revised version of the bill given preliminary approval today by the Senate. In fact, the committees have heard no testimony about this version, and the Senate committee considered the bill with virtually no public notice at all.

But we have seen supporters of the bill use ‘Chick-fil-A’ as a dog whistle and this measure as a tool for suggesting that treating LGBT Texans with the same respect and dignity we all deserve is somehow a threat to religious freedom. Now we’re all being asked to trust that this bill, if passed, won’t be used to justify discrimination. The bill’s supporters simply have not earned that trust.”

Polling from the Public Religion Research Institute shows that Texans, by a margin of 54-39 percent, oppose allowing businesses to refuse for religious reasons to provide products or services to gay or lesbian Texans.

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The Texas Freedom Network is a nonpartisan, grassroots organization building an informed and effective movement for equality and social justice.

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