Legislators in Texas are deliberating over a raft of anti-LGBT bills, most of which would allow people to cite “religious beliefs” as justification for discriminating against gays, lesbians, and transgender individuals in the state.
One of these bills to reach committee, HB 3859, would allow child welfare agencies to refuse LGBT families adoptions or foster care placements. “If we are going to stop this and other ‘religious refusal’ bills,” said Ali Lozano of the Texas Freedom Network, we’ve got to turn out and resist in the same numbers we did for SB6, the pending transgender ‘bathroom bill'”.
Lozano described the legislation as a “perversion of religious freedom,” a position seconded by Chuck Smith, CEO of Equality Texas. “Using religion to refuse service to LGBTQ people is discrimination,” Smith declared, “and it’s morally wrong and legally problematic.”
“Please know that the creative community is watching Texas,” the missive states, also noting “we are deeply troubled by the current legislation that would target the LGBTQ community in Texas”.
Numerous celebrities, including Lady Gaga, Sting, Cyndi Lauper, Laverne Cox, Whoopi Goldberg, George Takei, and Britney Spears, have publicly denounced the bills, adding their signatures to an open letter of protest.
Governor Greg Abbott (R-Wichita Falls) has steadfastly supported the bills, promising to sign them if they get to his desk. Abbott, a staunch opponent of marriage equality, backing bills to outlaw during his tenure as the Lone Star State’s Attorney General.
When the NFL warned that “if a proposal [in Texas] that is discriminatory or inconsistent with our values were to become law, that would certainly be a factor considered when thinking about awarding future events.” Abbot angrily responded, “The NFL needs to concentrate on playing football and get the heck out of politics.”
The various bills all come up for a vote in the coming months.