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Capitol Update: Ban the Bible Bills are Back!

Austin, Texas – Ignoring the overwhelming opposition from Texas citizens to #BanTheBible bills two years ago, Democratic state legislators have filed many of these highly controversial bills yet again during the current Texas Legislative session.  With the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Bostock v. Clayton County on employment discrimination last summer, and support from the new Biden administration for creating LGBT special protections, opponents of religious freedom are more emboldened than ever to punish people of faith.

“Opponents of religious liberty have gone too far with these Ban the Bible bills that use government power to punish people of faith, and put them out of work. Despite overwhelming opposition last session from Texas citizens, Ban the Bible bills were filed again at the Texas Capitol, that creates laws to punish, fine or fire people if they don’t support radical LGBT ideology. During these trying economic times, people just want to work and be left alone.” said Jonathan Covey, Director of Policy for Texas Values.

Last session, through Texas Values Action’s action center at NoBibleBan.com, Texans sent over 72,000 messages and phone calls to elected officials, and garnered attention from national news agencies who reported on the support for religious freedom and opposition to special protections for the LGBT community. Hiding under the disguise of “sexual orientation” and “gender identity,” these bills create special protections which ban the free expression of Biblical beliefs, especially with regard to marriage and sexuality. Those who do not comply could face fines, possible jail time, or other punishment by the government.

Less than a month into the 2021 legislative session and already a flood of aggressive #BanTheBible bills have surfaced, courtesy of many familiar faces in the Texas House and Senate. The Texas Values Action policy team closely monitors each measure as it is filed and analyzes for harmful provisions.

#BanTheBible bills so far include:

HB 191 by Rep. Diego Bernal

  • Amends the Property Code to create “sexual orientation,” “gender identity,” and “gender expression” protected classes.
  • Forces religious homeless shelters, colleges, and universities to allow biological men to sleep next to women in abuse shelters or dormitories.
  • Forces property owners and religious groups to allow men access to women’s showers, locker rooms, and bathrooms and vice versa.

HB 188 by Rep. Diego Bernal

  • Amends the Civil Practices and Remedies Code, the Labor Code, and the Property Code to create “sexual orientation,” gender identity,” and “gender expression” protected classes.
  • Administer punishments of an administrative penalty of $100 per day if there is a violation.
  • Forces everyone to “support” an individual undergoing a gender transition.
  • Forces businesses and owners who believe marriage is between one man and one woman, including wedding vendors (photographers, cake bakers, graphic artists) to use their artistic talents for marriage ceremonies that violate their sincerely held religious beliefs.
  • Forces government contractors to endorse beliefs contrary to their religious views in order to serve their communities.
  • Forces religious homeless shelters, colleges, and universities to allow biological men to sleep next to women in abuse shelters or dormitories.
  • Forces private property owners to allow men access to women’s showers, locker rooms, bathrooms, and vice versa.

HB 407 by Rep. Ana Hernandez

  • Allows the government to punish counselors, marriage and family therapists, psychologists or other mental health providers who work with people from a Christian perspective. It would effectively ban people from using the Bible or referring to principles in the Bible during their counseling sessions.
  • If these providers in any way discourage homosexual behavior or the desire for a gender transition surgery- including at the request of the client- they face disciplinary action by a regulatory committee.
  • It could force a therapist to disclose intimate details of private counseling sessions that are revealed in public court.

SB 97 by Sen. Jose Menendez

  • Allows the government to punish counselors, marriage and family therapists, psychologists or other mental health providers who work with people from a Christian perspective. It would effectively ban people from using the Bible or referring to principles in the Bible during their counseling sessions.
  • If these providers in any way discourage homosexual behavior or the desire for a gender transition surgery- including at the request of the client- they face disciplinary action by a regulatory committee.
  • It could force a therapist to disclose intimate details of private counseling sessions that are revealed in public court.

SB 233 by Sen. John Whitmire

  • Amends the Civil Practices and Remedies Code, the Labor Code, and the Property Code to create “sexual orientation,” gender identity,” and “gender expression” protected classes.
  • Administer punishments of an administrative penalty of $100 per day if there is a violation.
  • Forces everyone to “support” an individual undergoing a gender transition
  • Forces businesses and owners who believe marriage is between one man and one woman, including wedding vendors (photographers, cake bakers, graphic artists) to use their artistic talents for marriage ceremonies that violate their sincerely held religious beliefs.
  • Forces government contractors to endorse beliefs contrary to their religious views in order to serve their communities.
  • Forces religious homeless shelters, colleges, and universities to violate their biblical beliefs to allow biological men to sleep next to women in abuse shelters or dormitories.
  • Forces private property owners to allow men access to women’s showers, locker rooms, bathrooms, and vice versa.

HB 1111 by Rep. Julie Johnson

  • Would force Christian employers and Christian businesses by violating their Christian views on marriage by being forced to provide insurance coverage for spouses of same-sex couples.
  • Would force employers to pay for sex transition surgeries, hormone blockers and enhancers, plastic surgery, and other expenses related to an employee’s gender identity or gender expression.

HB 1037 by Rep. Michelle Beckley continues the attacks on Christian views of the family by:

  • Eliminating the words “man” and “woman” throughout the Family Code when discussing marriage.
  • Eliminates the words “husband” and “wife” when discussing marriage.
  • Eliminating mother and father when discussing both parents in a male/female marriage, and potentially takes their ability away to refer to themselves as “mother” and “father” in a state legal document.
  • Deleting “father child relationship” in relation to a section of code that says father child relationships may not be determined at birth when issuing a birth certificate. Instead, the code will read that “parent child relationship” may not be determined at birth.
  • Deleting the term “husband” from the Health and Safety Code Section 2.06, in regards to female patients, and instead adds the term “male spouse.”
  • Eliminating the word “female” when referring to someone who is pregnant, suggesting that a male can be pregnant.

SB 129 by Sen. Nathan Johnson continues the attacks on Christian views of the family by:

  • Eliminating the words man and woman throughout the Family Code when discussing marriage.
  • Eliminating the words husband and wife when discussing marriage.
  • Eliminating mother and father when discussing both parents in a male/female marriage and potentially takes their ability away to refer to themselves as “mother” and “father” in a state legal document.
  • Deleting “father child relationship” in relation to a section of code that says father child relationships may not be determined at birth when issuing a birth certificate. Instead, the code will read that “parent child relationship” may not be determined at birth.
  • Deleting the term “husband” from the Health and Safety Code Section 2.06, in regards to female patients, and instead adds the term “male spouse.”
  • Eliminating the word “female” when referring to someone who is pregnant, suggesting that a male can be pregnant.

Other Bills of Concern:

HB 73 by Rep. Gina Hinojosa

  • Places the terms “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” in the criminal code as part of a limitation of the standard for a defense to the use of force.
  • A person could be subject to criminal prosecution for resisting a sexual advance by someone who is discovered to be gay, lesbian or transgender.

HB 726 by Rep. Ana Hernandez

  • Bill grants medical consent rights to children, which is currently not in law.
  • Bill would confuse children into thinking that they are neither male nor female.
  • Bill would force children to maintain physical traits that could cause physical and medical complications and deny them of treatment that they need.
  • Bill defines a new gender called “intersex” and would put this term in state law.

HB 1580 by Rep. John Rosenthal

  • Seeks to create a special division in the Texas Department of Health and Human Services to study interactions between people in the community based on sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.
  • The division would grant taxpayer dollars to LGBTQ groups.
  • The division would work to make groups that advocate or promote sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression to go “educate communities on LGBT special interests.
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