Texas state Rep. Bryan Slaton (R) has introduced eyebrow-raising legislation that would offer property tax cuts to couples, but only heterosexual couples… and only if they’ve never been divorced.
The bill, House Bill No. 2889, would only apply to a “qualifying married couple” which the bill defines as “a man and a woman who are legally married to each other, neither of whom have ever been divorced.” If a spouse dies, the surviving spouse can continue receiving the tax cuts just as long as they don’t remarry.
The bill would automatically give married straight couples 10 percent off of their property taxes just for being wedded and heterosexual. It would give the couple 40 percent off if they have four kids, and offer an additional 10 percent reduction for each additional child. If a straight couple has 10 kids, they would pay no property taxes whatsoever.
In a tweet about his bill, Slaton wrote, “Supporting Texas means supporting Texas families. Families are the building blocks of society. We must support families by making it easier for them to have and raise kids. With HB 2889, Texas will start saying: ‘Get married, stay married, and be fruitful and multiply.'”
When Slaton mentions “Texas families,” he means Texas families that he approves of. “Be fruitful and multiply” is taken from the biblical book of Genesis, chapter 1, verse 28 as God’s command to Adam and Eve, the first humans created on Earth. The full verse is often quoted by fundamentalist Christians as a command for straight people to have lots of kids and a justification for subduing all of nature to human’s needs, no matter its environmental impact.
In a letter announcing his bill, Slaton wrote that “Many studies have shown that children tend to have enhanced ‘wellbeing and development,’ and tend to avoid developmental, academic, and behavioral problems when raised by both parents in a stable marriage.”
It’s true that many studies have shown this. Studies have also shown that children raised by same-sex couples do as well in school as those raised by different-sex couples and that children raised by gay and lesbian parents develop as well psychologically as those raised by straight parents.
Slaton modeled his legislation after similar legislation in Hungary and Poland, two heavily Christian and notoriously anti-LGBTQ+ countries.
Conservatives have idealized Hungary’s fascistic Prime Minister Viktor Orban. Orban’s administration banned schools and the media from mentioning LGBTQ+ people, amended the constitution to define marriage as only being between a man and woman, effectively erased transgender people by banning them from legally changing their gender, and pulled out of the Eurovision song competition because it was a “homosexual flotilla.”
In 2022, Poland’s anti-LGBTQ+ President Andrzej Duda won re-election by campaigning against LGBTQ+ people. Duda said that “LGBT ideology” was more destructive than communism, pledged to ban same-sex marriage and adoption by same-sex couples, and also the teaching of LGBTQ+ issues in schools. Local politicians, empowered by sentiment from the top, have established LGBT-free zones throughout the country, and the LGBTQ+ advocacy group ILGA has said Poland is the worst country in Europe for LGBTQ+ rights.
Slaton has previously said that he plans on sponsoring legislation that would criminalize the taking of children to drag performances, something he says is tantamount to child sexual abuse. Slaton hasn’t yet specified exactly what he means by “drag shows,” how they’d be defined in a bill, or how his bill would avoid violating Constitutional protections for free speech.