Texas Lawmakers Pass Two Anti-LGBT Measures
Lawmakers in Texas passed two bills this week that open the doors to legal discrimination against members of the LGBT community.
The Dallas Voice reports that the Texas Senate approved a measure on Tuesday that would prohibit anyone from obtaining a marriage license with a document that does not have a photo, including an affidavit of sex change. Equality Texas' Daniel Williams said that although the author of the bill, Republican state Senator Donna Campbell, stated that the intent of the bill was to require a photo ID to get a marriage license, the removal of an affidavit of sex change from the list of documents that can be used to obtain a marriage license potentially bars transgender persons from marrying members of the opposite sex.
Williams said Equality Texas is working to slow down the bill's progress as it still needs to be given the green light by a House committee and make it into the House calendar for it to be voted on by midnight, Tuesday, May 21.
Meanwhile in the Texas House of Representatives, anti-gay Republican Rep. Matt Krause filed an amendment that would allow student organizations at universities in the state to bypass the schools' anti-discrimination policies. Williams said the measure "has a really decent chance of passing" because Krause is gaining support for it based on students having free speech." adding that, "It's not about protecting free speech. It's about tax-funded hate speech."
On Wednesday, the Texas House passed the measure in a 78-76 vote. The bill, SB 215, states that the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board must work with institutions to "ensure that each institution does not implement a policy or otherwise engage in a practice that requires a student organization" to accept members who "demonstrate opposition to the organization's stated beliefs and purposes," the Dallas Voice points out in another article. Krause, however, believes his bill is "protecting free speech" in deciding who may join a club.
But officials from Equality Texas say Krause's amendment "would allow officially-recognized student organizations who receive taxpayer funded support from a university to discriminate against a potential member based on race, religion, veteran status, HIV/AIDS status, gender, disability, sexual orientation and gender identity or expression if any attribute of the student 'demonstrates opposition to the organization's stated beliefs and purposes.'"
During the bill's debate, Rep. Harold Dutton Jr., a Democrat, said the measure is discriminatory and will take away freedom from students to join the club they choose.
"You don't lose your freedom a mile at a time. You lose it an inch at a time," Dutton said. "This is another attempt to take away some of the freedoms we have."