Current Affairs

Texas lawmakers just broke a record they really shouldn’t be proud of

Nick Duffy March 18, 2015
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Texas lawmakers appear to have broken the record for the most anti-gay bills filed in one year.

State senators and representatives in the state have filed no less than 20 bills which openly target lesbian, bisexual, gay and transgender citizens in the past year.

The bills have varying effects, from voiding all local anti-discrimination laws to making it a crime for transgender people to use public toilets.

According to the Texas Observer,  the sheer number of different anti-gay bills filed in the this year state surpasses Oklahoma’s previous record of 16.

Four of the bills alone were filed by one lawmaker, Cecil Bell – whose measures attempt to halt same-sex marriage, as well as allowing business owners to turn away customers based on their sexuality.

Incredibly, despite filing four bills attacking gay rights, the Republican told the newspaper he did not perceive them as ‘anti-gay’, saying: “Unfortunately, I think it gets couched as ‘anti’. It’s not about ‘anti’.

“It’s about being pro-states’ rights. It’s about being pro-traditional values.

“We’re seeing the results of a federal court system that doesn’t seem to be respecting the rights, the sovereignty, of the states and of the people. Because of that, you see the state legislatures pushing back.”

Democrats and gay rights campaigners in the state are facing an uphill battle to quash the wave of legislation.

Sarah Warbelow of the Human Rights Campaign said it marked “the largest number of bills we’ve seen in a single state intended to harm the LGBT community at least in a very long time.”

However, she remains quietly hopeful the laws will fail, saying: “There is not an appetite among moderate Republicans to pass bills that are so blatantly unconstitutional.”

She continued: “I think this is likely to continue for some time. I anticipate that this will not be the last year that we see a number of these bills move.

“As we as a movement have greater success at the municipal level in states that are controlled by more conservative legislatures, it is something that we worry about.”

Related topics: Anti-gay, bill, Cecil Bell, Congress, homophobic, legislator, Republican, state, Texas, US

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