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House LGBTQ Caucus Brings Back #BanTheBible Bill With Republican Help

Last week, the Texas House LGBTQ caucus, including founding members Reps. Mary Gonzalez, Jessica Gonzalez, Julie Johnson, and Erin Zwiener, introduced their plan to pass a comprehensive “Ban the Bible” bill next session. While the Texas House LGBTQ Caucus has not published language for the bill, we can all expect it is going to be a long and far-reaching government power grab and they have revealed already that the bill would grant members of the LGBTQ community special privileges in the areas of employment, housing, and public accommodations.

As you may recall, the five-member LGBTQ Caucus pushed several pieces of legislation during the last Texas Legislative session that sought to criminalize and penalize Christians who did not comply with these special privileges. For example, a bill that granted special privileges in housing accommodations would have forced women’s homeless and abuse shelters to allow men to sleep and shower alongside women.

This time the LGBTQ caucus has garnered the support of two Republican House members: Sarah Davis and Todd Hunter. Rep. Sarah Davis has historically voted against pro family, pro-life, and religious liberty bills during her political career. Her score on the Texas Values Action Faith & Family Scorecard has repeatedly been a single digit. Rep. Todd Hunter, who averages between 60 percent and 70 percent on the Faith & Family Scorecard, voted present not voting (PNV) on the SB 1978 Chick-Fil-A Religious Freedom Bill when it passed on the floor. He also did not support SB 1978 getting to the House floor by voting present non-voting in the House State Affairs Committee.

Recent events on the sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) issue have raised visibility for both sides.  One highlight for conservatives occurred in 2018 when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled favorably for artist and baker Jack Phillips in the Masterpiece case.  Mr. Phillips refused to bake a cake to affirm a “same sex wedding” in violation of his sincerely held religious belief that marriage is the union of a man and woman.  The Supreme Court rebuked the state of Colorado for its “hostility” to his faith.

Other examples include a Longview, Texas couple who was harassed and threatened for standing firm and refusing to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding because of their views on biblical marriage.  In 2018, four women held at a Texas detention center filed a federal lawsuit arguing they were at greater risk of rape because they might have to share facilities with biological men, who call themselves transgender women. In 2019, owners of a wedding venue in Dallas came under intense criticism from the LGBTQ community and other businesses when they declined to allow their premises to be used for a same-sex wedding service based on their sincerely held religious beliefs.

SOGI policies attack individual Christians and Christian businesses in a variety of ways. SOGI policies are “a sword not a shield” and are often called “Ban the Bible” bills because the core of SOGI laws or policies are designed to be used as weapons to punish Christians for following biblical teaching on sexuality issues. One instance is the case of an American Bar Association (ABA) model rule that attempted to punish any lawyer who associated with a group that “discriminates” against LGBT persons. Professionals across the country were in danger of being fired for activities conducted off the clock if their jurisdiction adopted this model rule. If you are a professional that attends a church that does not perform same sex marriages, you could be punished.

Local government authorities regularly test the legal waters by attempting to pass forms of SOGI ordinances. The City of Houston made a failed attempt to pass the so-called Human Equal Rights Ordinance “HERO,” otherwise known as the Bathroom Ordinance in 2015 that would have allowed men to enter women’s restrooms. Voters in Houston overwhelmingly voted against this policy 61-39.  Laredo introduced an SOGI ordinance with the purpose of forcing contractors and city employees and churches to act against their religious beliefs.  Thankfully, this policy was also voted down. A Wimberley ISD representative proposed a similar policy in an effort to force boys onto girls’ sports teams and punish students and teachers for not using preferred pronouns.  The Wimberley ISD school board voted against the policy. Last year, the San Antonio city council voted to ban fast-food restaurant Chick-fil-a from the city airport due to the restaurant’s support for Christian non-profits Salvation Army and Fellowship of Christian Athletes (supports abstinence before biblical marriage). This action resulted in an outpouring of support for Chick-fil-a and a new law from the Texas legislature prohibiting the government from discriminating against anyone who donates to, or supports a religious organization.  Texas Values played a key role in the passage of that legislation.

If you live in either Representative Davis’s or Representative Hunter’s district let them know that you do not want them supporting this comprehensive “Ban the Bible” bill that will punish people of faith. The full list of House LGBTQ Caucus members is below:

  • Mary Gonzalez
  • Jessica Gonzalez
  • Erin Zwiener
  • Julie Johnson
  • Alma Allen
  • Rafael Anchia
  • Cesar Blanco
  • Diego Bernal
  • John H. Bucy III
  • Gina Calanni
  • Garnet Coleman
  • Jessica Farrar
  • Barbara Gervin-Hawkins
  • Gina Hinojosa
  • Donna Howard
  • Armando “Mando” Martinez
  • Joe Moody
  • Poncho Nevarez
  • Eddie Rodriguez
  • James Talarico
  • Chris Turner
  • Armando L. Walle
  • Gene Wu
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