Texas lawmakers face pile of LGBT-related bills

Add this share

The 84th Texas Legislature is less than two weeks old, but lawmakers have already introduced four pieces of anti-LGBT legislation, and plans for another have been widely reported in the media.

Representatives from Equality Texas warned this would be a defensive session due to backlash against the spread of marriage equality to 36 states, as well as a shift to the right in the Legislature thanks to November elections. However, only one anti-LGBT proposals pertains directly to same-sex marriage. HB 623, from Rep. Cecil Bell Jr., R-Magnolia, (photo) would revoke the salaries and other benefits of state employees, including county clerks, who issue or recognize same-sex marriage licenses.

The other anti-LGBT proposals target municipal nondiscrimination ordinances. Two are resolutions, HJR 55 and SJR 10, that would enshrine a “license to discriminate” against LGBT people in the Texas Constitution. The third, SB 343, would prohibit cities from implementing laws that are more stringent than state statutes on the same subject, including local nondiscrimination ordinances. A fourth, which has not yet been introduced, would prohibit cities from adding protected classes to nondisrimination ordinances that aren't included in state law. 

On the bright side, at least 15 pro-equality measures have been introduced. They range from legislation to repeal Texas’ same-sex marriage bans to bills that would remove the state’s unconstitutional sodomy law from the books.

As the session nears its third week, here’s a rundown of LGBT-related legislation that’s been introduced thus far.

 

Pro-LGBT Legislation

 

HB 70: Prohibits discrimination and harassment against public school employees and students based on sexual orientation and gender identity/expression. Author: Rep. Mary Gonzalez, D-El Paso.

HB 71: Provides an affirmative defense to the offense of indecency with a child for age-appropriate dating by gay youth. Author: Rep. Mary Gonzalez, D-El Paso.

HB 130: Repeals statutory ban on same-sex marriage and recognition of same-sex unions from other states. Author: Rep. Rafael Anchia, D-Dallas.

HB 304, HB 453: Prohibits discrimination in insurance based on sexual orientation and gender identity/expression. Authors: Rep. Senfronia Thompson, D-Houston, Rep. Rafael Anchia, D-Dallas.

HB 412, HB 582: Prohibits employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity/expression by state contractors. Author: Rep. Chris Tuner, D-Arlington. 

HB 537: Allows same-sex couples to have both parents’ names on supplementary birth certificates issued to adopted children. Author: Rep. Rafael Anchia, D-Dallas.

HB 553: Repeals offense of homosexual conduct from the Penal Code and removes language from the Health & Safety Code requiring education programs and materials to state that homosexuality is not an acceptable lifestyle and is a criminal offense. Author: Rep. Joe Moody, D-El Paso.

HB 627: Prohibits employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity/expression. Author: Rep. Eric Johnson, D-Dallas.

HJR 34: Repeals constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman. Author: Rep. Garnet Coleman, D-Houston (second photo).

SB 76: Prohibits discrimination in insurance based on sexual orientation and gender identity/expression. Author: Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston.

SB 98: Repeals statutory ban on same-sex marriage and recognition of same-sex unions from other states. Author: Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen.

SB 148: Repeals offense of homosexual conduct from the Penal Code and removes language from the Health & Safety Code requiring education programs and materials to state that homosexuality is not an acceptable lifestyle and is a criminal offense. Sen. Jose Rodriguez, D-El Paso.

SB 250: Allows same-sex couples to have both parents’ names on supplementary birth certificates issued to adopted children. Author: Sen. Sylvia Garcia, D-Houston.

SJR 13: Repeals constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman. Author: Sen. Jose Rodriguez, D-El Paso.

Anti-LGBT Legislation

 

HB 623: Revokes salaries and benefits of local and state government employees who issue or recognize same-sex marriage licenses. Requires Texas judges to dismiss challenges to the law and says the state is not subject to federal court rulings on same-sex marriage. Author: Rep. Cecil Bell Jr., R-Magnolia.

HJR 55: Prohibits government and homeowners associations from burdening in any way a person’s free exercise of religion unless there’s a compelling interest and it’s the least restrictive means of furthering that interest. HJR 55 would give individuals and businesses a “license to discriminate” against LGBT people, as long as they claim they are acting on religious beliefs. Author: Rep. Jason Villalba, R-Dallas (bottom photo).

SB 343: Prohibits local governments from implementing ordinances that are more stringent than state law on the same subject, unless otherwise authorized by statute. Author: Sen. Don Huffines, R-Dallas. The bill could unravel LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinances in Houston and cities across the state.

SJR 10: Prohibits government from burdening an individual or religious organization’s freedom of religion, or right to act based on sincerely held religious beliefs, unless there’s a compelling interest and it’s the least restrictive means of furthering that interest. Defines burden to include withholding benefits, assessing penalties, and denying access to facilities or programs. SJR 10 would give individuals and businesses a “license to discriminate” against LGBT people, as long as they claim they are acting on religious beliefs. Author: Sen. Donna Campbell, R-New Braunfels. 

THE LATEST

Project Q Atlanta goes on hiatus after 14 years

On Sept. 1, 2008, Project Q Atlanta promised a hyper-local “queer media diet” for Atlanta. The site set out to bring LGBTQ news, in-depth...

Photos catch Purple Dress Run invading Midtown

After three years of pandemic-inflicted limitations, Atlanta’s gay rugby squad let loose on one of its most popular events. The Atlanta Bucks Purple Dress...

Ooo Bearracuda: Photos from Bear Pride’s Main Event

The seventh annual Atlanta Bear Pride hit the ground running on Friday with packed houses at Woofs, Heretic and Future. Turned out, they hadn’t...

Atlanta Bear Pride set to go hard and long all weekend

That low, growing growl you hear is a nation of gay bears headed for Atlanta Bear Pride this weekend. By the time they arrive,...

PHOTOS: Armorettes bring back Easter Drag Race magic

Gay Atlanta’s queens of do-good drag brought the sunshine to a cloudy afternoon on Saturday when Heretic hosted the triumphant return of Armorettes Easter...
17,446FansLike
7,001FollowersFollow
7,682FollowersFollow

PHOTO GALLERIES