All-female Texas LGBT caucus defeats ‘Save Chick-fil-A’ bill
The Texas LGBT+ caucus successfully defeated a bill characterised as an attack on LGBT+ rights.
The five out lawmakers leading the recently-formed Texas House LGBT+ Caucus challenged Republican Matt Krause’s House Bill 3172 during a floor reading on Thursday (May 9).
State representative Julie Johnson moved a point of order against the bill, which was rejected, the Texas Tribune reported.
The second point of order raised was however accepted, killing the bill which intended to protect “religious beliefs and moral convictions, including beliefs and convictions regarding marriage.”
Critics of the bill feared that, if passed, the legislation would be used to discriminate against LGBT+ people in the name of “sincerely held” religious beliefs.
Krause claimed fears of discrimination were unfounded. He told the Texas Tribune: “There was no discriminatory possibility with this bill. We worked very hard to make sure that was the case.”
Supporters of Krause’s bill saw it as a way to “Save Chick-fil-A” as the fast food chain restaurant was recently banned from opening a new outlet in a Texas airport due to the company’s negative record on LGBT+ issues.
Texas LGBT+ lawmakers celebrate victory against the bill
While the bill could be amended and proposed again to the legislature, LGBT+ lawmakers and campaigners celebrated this initial victory in the House.
“We worked so hard for the last two days to figure out a strategy how to overcome this bill,” Johnson, an out lesbian, said in a video posted to Equality Texas. “LGBT+ discrimination is no longer the deal of the Texas House,” she added.
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“Ding dong! The bill is dead. Which old bill? The wicked bill. Ding dong! The wicked bill is dead!” she then tweeted from her account.
“Y’ALL! The @txlgbtqcaucus killed the license to discriminate bill! Hats off to @juliejohnsonTX for her masterful point of order and to @RepMaryGonzalez for leading us through this trying but ultimately successful day,” tweeted Texas LGBT caucus member Erin Zwiener, who wore a LGBT pride flag pin to the House in support of her colleagues.
“Thank you @JulieJohnsonTX for being a strong voice for LGBTQ Texans. #txlege” Human Rights Campaign wrote in a tweet.
“Congrats to @juliejohnsonTX and the @txlgbtqcaucus for defeating #HB3172, a discriminatory bill that would have significantly stigmatized LGBTQ Texans across the state,” Texas House Democratic Caucus wrote reacting to the news.
“Proud of @juliejohnsonTX and the @txlgbtqcaucus for stopping the anti-LGBTQ bill that would have legalized discrimination and cost Texas billions of dollars in business. Once again, Texas does not stand for hate.” Texas Democrats stated in a tweet.