GOP Lawmaker Drops Religious Freedom Bill

A House Republican will no longer seek to amend the Texas Constitution to prohibit state and local governments from “in any way” restricting the free exercise of religion, leaving several conservative legislators hustling Tuesday to file an alternate bill.

Read the full article from the Austin American-Statesmen:

Villalba to Reconsider Religious Liberty Bill

Rep. Jason Villalba, R-Dallas, announced yesterday (Monday, March 9) he would reconsider HJR 55 after the Texas Association of Business, Equality Texas and others expressed concern it would discriminate against LGBT people.

He also announced his intention to work with various stakeholders, including TAB, who came out against the joint resolution and SJ 10, its senate companion, filed by Sen. Donna Campbell, R-New Braunfels, at a meeting last month.

Read the full article from the Dallas Voice Media Source:

The Opposite of Religious Freedom

Religious freedom isn’t about the freedom to discriminate.

Two proposed constitutional amendments threaten to make it precisely that in Texas. More than unnecessary, they are dangerous because they depart significantly from cherished national precepts that no one’s religion can be imposed on another.

They masquerade as blows for religious freedom — hey, who’d vote against that? — but they pervert the meaning into grotesque license to use religion to deny equality in public accommodations to those who offend certain sensibilities.

Read the full article from the San Antonio Express-News Editorial Board:

'Religious Freedom' - The New Name for the War on LGBT Rights

Yesterday, the Georgia Senate approved a “religious freedom” bill which, if signed into law, would prohibit the state from infringing on personal religious beliefs — effectively legalizing discrimination against gay and transgender individuals. The bill, however, is but one of many “religious freedom” bills being introduced by Republican lawmakers across the country in anticipation of a Supreme Court ruling that would legalize same-sex marriages.

Read the full article from Raw Story News:

States Weigh Legislation to Let Businesses Refuse to Serve Gay Couples

As it looks increasingly likely that the Supreme Court will establish a nationwide right to same-sex marriage later this year, state legislatures across the country are taking up bills that would make it easier for businesses and individuals to opt out of serving gay couples on religious grounds.

 Many states are now reliving a version of events that embroiled Arizona in February 2014, when Gov. Jan Brewer, a Republican, vetoed a bill that would have allowed businesses to use their religious beliefs as a legal justification for refusing to serve gay customers.

Read the full article from the New York Times:

'License to Discriminate' Bills Pile Up in Texas Lege

Two days after the Plano City Council approved an ordinance prohibiting discrimination against LGBT people, a Texas legislator filed a proposed constitutional amendment that would limit the ability of cities to enforce such laws.

On Wednesday, Rep. Jason Villalba (R-Dallas) filed House Joint Resolution 55, which is similar but not identical to Senate Joint Resolution 10, filed last month by Sen. Donna Campbell (R-New Braunfels).

Read the full article from the Texas Observer:

State Lawmakers Are Filing Against HERO and Other Non-Discrimination Ordinances

The City of Houston hasn't had much luck with Mayor Annise Parker's attempt to enact Houston's Equal Rights Ordinance, (aka HERO) an ordinance to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender residents against discrimination, but now it looks like the Texas legislature is getting involved and all of the ordinances could be in jeopardy.

Read the full article from the Houston Press: