July/August 2019 Church & State Magazine - July/August 2019

Texas Approves Codifying LGBTQ Discrimination

  Rob Boston

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) has signed so-called “religious freedom” legislation that critics say is really designed to allow discrimination against members of the LGBTQ community.

 The bill, S.B. 1978, prohibits state and local governments from taking “adverse action” against any individuals or businesses based on membership, support or donations to religious groups, reported CNN.

Critics say the measure is designed to punish local governments that decline to work with entities and businesses that discriminate against LGBTQ people. The legislation was proposed by state Sen. Bryan Hughes (R-Dist. 1) after news reports circulated that the San Antonio City Council earlier this year said it would not approve a new food concessions contract at the San Antonio International Airport unless the fast food outlet Chick-fil-A was not included. The owners of Chick-fil-A are known for donating money to anti-LGBTQ groups, and they worked to oppose marriage equality before the U.S. Supreme Court legalized it in 2015.

An earlier version of the bill would have given the Texas attorney general the power to sanction government bodies, officials or employees who refuse to comply with it, but that provision was removed by the state House of Representatives.

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