News (USA)

Texas lawmakers advance two anti-LGBT bills despite warnings from business community


AUSTIN, Texas — Texas lawmakers on Wednesday pushed forward with two anti-gay bills, despite warnings from major corporations, technology leaders, and child advocacy organizations of the dangerous consequences.

The House Committee on State Affairs voted 7-3 along party lines to advance HB 4105, a bill that takes direct aim at preventing marriage equality in Texas by prohibiting state or local funds from being used to license or recognize same-sex marriages.

A second bill, HB 3864, which would allow state-funded child welfare providers to discriminate based on sincerely held religious beliefs, was approved by the House Committee on Juvenile Justice and Family Affairs on a 7-1 vote.

Both bills are part of more than 20 pieces of anti-LGBT legislation being considered by the Texas legislature.

“The Lone Star State deserves better than the consequences these anti-LGBT bills will bring to the state if they become law,” said HRC National Field Director Marty Rouse. “Major corporations, technology leaders, and child advocacy organizations have made clear that these shameful attacks on LGBT Texans and their families are taking the state in the wrong direction. Texas lawmakers must stop these extreme bills from moving forward.”

The Texas Observer reports that in addition to advancing the two bills, House lawmakers heard hours of testimony Wednesday by dozens of pastors in support of HB 3567, which is designed to prevent clergy from being forced to perform same-sex marriages.

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Critics of HB 3567 say it’s so broadly written that it could allow any religiously affiliated organization — from hospitals to universities and homeless shelters —to discriminate against LGBT people.

Dozens of corporations – including major Texas employers like PepsiCo, parent company of Frito Lay, and American Airlines – along with the Human Rights Campaign, have condemned the bills as bad for business, saying they undermine their core values and set dangerous precedents that stifle investment and economic growth.

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