San Marcos – You Can’t Hide Shady Government Meeting
Austin, Texas – Today Texas Values submitted an open records request to the City of San Marcos following the City Council’s closed-door meeting and subsequent adoption of a new policy that would force businesses and religious nonprofits to give special treatment on “sexual orientation and gender identity” (SOGI) in employment or subcontract agreements in order to contract with the City of San Marcos. This policy would force private businesses and contractors with the City of San Marcos to violate their sincerely held religious beliefs on marriage and biological sex. Additionally, because the City Council took advantage of the Coronavirus situation in a closed-door meeting, there was no opportunity for a public hearing or comment and this action could violate the Texas Open Meetings Act. The policy went into effect on May 15th.
Jonathan Covey, Director of Policy for Texas Values said: “Government accountability is the hallmark of the American Constitutional system, and this information needs to see the light of day. With the Covid-19 pandemic highlighting the issue of governmental overreach, it is important, now more than ever, that the public business be done in public.”
The open records request seeks copies of any and all presentations, reports, and communications, including e-mails, letters, and any other written correspondence between the Mayor and/or his staff, and/or any outside organization pertaining to the following information:
- Records of discussion or certified agendas regarding legal considerations of an anti-discrimination ordinance or policy for the April 21, 2020 executive session of the San Marcos City Council meeting.
- Any communications between San Marcos City Council members or staff and outside organizations, including non-profit organizations and civil rights organizations, regarding updating, amending, or changing of the city’s Vendor Policy & Procedure Manual.
- Any communications, including emails and other written correspondence, between San Marcos City Council members and staff regarding anti-discrimination ordinances or policies during the time period from January 1, 2020 to April 21, 2020.
- Any reports and/or policy recommendations created or written by city staff for city councilmembers regarding anti-discrimination ordinances or policies as discussed during Item No. 16 of the Non-Consent Agenda during the city council’s January 21, 2020 regular meeting.
- Any notes relating to an anti-discrimination ordinance or policy made by city council members during the executive session held on April 21, 2020.
- Names and position titles of City of San Marcos staff members who helped with creating any recommendation or reports regarding anti-discrimination ordinances or policies during the time period from January 21, 2020 to April 21, 2020.
Previously Texas Values had sent a letter to the Mayor and City Council informing them of the possible Texas Open Meetings Act violation, as well as requesting a public hearing before the implementation of the new controversial policy. To date, there has been no response to this request. You can read the letter here.
During the last legislative session, numerous bills were defeated that had similar language and wanted to punish Christian employers and business owners with fines and jail time who did not comply with “sexual orientation and gender identity” (SOGI) special protections. Sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) are not protected classes under federal law and no Texas state law requires special protection for either. Ordinances and rules of this type are dangerous and inaccurately rely on a short-lived interpretation of Federal law from the Obama Administration. The current U.S. Department of Justice has rejected this interpretation and instead concluded that protections against sex discrimination do not apply to claims on sexual orientation and gender identity.
About Texas Values
Texas Values is the largest statewide nonprofit organization dedicated to standing for faith, family, and freedom in Texas. More information is available at txvalues.org.