A proposal is in the works in Austin that would potentially force private companies to pay millions to fund benefits for gay and lesbian couples. The Austin Human Rights Commission is planning to take up this issue next month and, if approved, the proposal would go on to the Austin City Council for a vote.
The proposal targets private businesses that contract with the city, and would require each company that does business with the City of Austin to pay additional benefits to homosexual employees. The financial impact this resolution would have on private companies could be devastating. This proposal is clearly politically motivated as the homosexual lobby cannot win the approval they want at the ballot box so they seek to use the government to force their unpopular values on the rest of us. Will the City of Austin stop partnering with churches as well if the congregation supports the biblical view of marriage?
Currently, the city has contracted with companies for 2,276 projects. The proposed resolution would significantly reduce the bidding pool and competition in the market place between contractors who cannot afford to pay the additional benefits and those that agree to. “The City is going to be limited in what they’re choices are and they’re going to drive out good businesses that are going to decide to take their business to other cities where they don’t have this type of restriction,” said Jonathan Saenz, director of Legislative Affairs at Liberty Institute. In addition, this resolution will drive away smaller, privately owned companies who cannot keep up with the city’s requirements, significantly hurting local businesses.
Studies of cities that passed similar resolutions found that forcing private companies to provide additional benefits to gay and lesbian couples significantly increased the cost of city projects. In this economic climate and during a time when city spending is already spiraling out of control, is this a price that Austin taxpayers are willing to pay?
But this bullying tactic will not only hurt taxpayers, it will also hurt private business. Businesses will have to make a choice between violating their conscience and being banned from contracting with the City of Austin. Cities in California credit their “Equal Benefit Ordinances” with helping changing the California law to recognize same-sex domestic partnerships, providing them with all the rights and obligations of marriage. The proposed ordinance in Austin risks the same economic and social impact in Texas.
The proposed resolution is an invalid exercise of governmental power under the Texas Constitution because it forces private companies and taxpayers to fund the city’s gay rights initiative, regardless of their religious beliefs or values. This proposed action is also contrary to our Texas Values, as we Texans approved a state constitutional amendment in 2005 to define marriage as between one man and one woman with support of 76.2%. This is just the latest Austin liberal effort to try to undermine marriage and undermine our state constitution. The City of Austin should not be allowed to discriminate against companies that simply support the values of our state Constitution. Texas is a business friendly state, and if we hope to keep it that way, we must stand up against this blatant attempt of the Austin power elite to impose their radical values on an unwilling public.
Check out our own Jonathan Saenz discussing this issue on Fox 7: