Texas Legislature Advances Two Anti-LGBT Bills

By Adam Polaski • May 10, 2017 • 11:42 am

Lawmakers in Texas last night advanced two bills that single out LGBT people – particularly LGBT youth – for discrimination. The Senate advanced SB 2095, legislation which would make it difficult – if not impossible – for transgender youth to participate in scholastic sports. The House, meanwhile, advanced HB 3859 – sweeping legislation which would allow adoption agencies and foster parents to discriminate against same-sex couples and LGBT individuals, religious minorities, single parents, and others.

Yesterday’s votes on SB 2095 and HB 3859 come as the Texas legislature, which meets once every two years, enters its final three-week stretch. Both bills are part of a broad docket of more than two dozen pieces of legislation seeking to undermine the dignity and legal equality of LGBT people in the Lone Star State.

Kasey Suffredini, Freedom for All Americans’ Acting CEO & President of Strategy, said today:

“It’s discouraging that Texas lawmakers appear so fixated on singling out LGBT people – particularly transgender youth – for discrimination. We’re facing a stunningly sweeping anti-LGBT agenda in the Texas legislature this year, and these bills have significant consequences for LGBT people. So many voices from across Texas have stood up and rejected this discriminatory agenda – including businesses big and small, conservatives, and people of faith. It’s time for Texas lawmakers to end their obsession with going after the dignity and equality of LGBT people.”

SB 2095, which could receive a final vote as soon as tonight, allows the Texas University Interscholastic League (UIL) to ban students taking hormones from participating in athletic competitions. The legislation insidiously targets transgender students, and was filed after transgender wrestler Mack Beggs gained national attention for being forced, by UIL rules, to compete against girls even though he is a boy.

HB 3859 is discriminatory legislation, sweeping in scope, that allows adoption agencies to discriminate against qualified, loving people looking to adopt or serve as foster parents. Under the legislation, same-sex couples, LGBT people, single parents, religious minorities and others all could arbitrarily be turned away from an agency simply because of who they are. Perhaps worse, the bill also puts the safety and well-being of the approximately 22,000 children in the state’s foster system at risk: it allows parents to cite religious beliefs in denying children needed care or services, or in exposing them to dangerous situations such as the roundly rejected practice of conversion therapy.

Freedom for All Americans continues to support our partners in Equality Texas, as well as business coalitions like Texas Competes and Keep Texas Open for Business, in the campaign to defeat discriminatory legislation like these bills.

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