Saturday, April 15, 2017

Texas Republicans Seek to Nullify All LGBT Non-discrimination Ordinances

Proving once again that no LGBT individual with a sound mind should ever vote for a Republican, a powerful GOP controlled committee in the Texas legislature that would rescind every LGBT non-discrimination ordinance passed by local municipalities and bar localities from adding LGBT protections to current non-discrimination laws and ordinances.  Given the 1996 Supreme Court ruling in Romer v. Evans, it is questionable whether the state law, if enacted, would survive appellate court scrutiny.  In the interim, of course, years of litigation would be required to undo the damage to LGBT individuals during the lengthy court process.  All so that Republicans can prostitute themselves to their Christofascist masters.  Here are highlights from the Houston Chronicle on this anti-LGBT effort:
Entering the fray over where transgender Texans can use public bathrooms, a far-reaching bill that a powerful House committee is scheduled to hear next week would rescind several local ordinances aimed at protecting LGBT people from discrimination.
The one-page proposal, House Bill 2899, would prohibit cities and counties from passing non-discrimination ordinances and would not allow them to add or subtract to the classes of people already protected under state law. Authored by Republican Rep. Ron Simmons of Carrollton, the bill also would nullify all local non-discrimination measures across Texas that do not conform to the state's standards.
Current Texas law includes only race, color, disability, religion, sex, national origin and age as protected classes.
Simmons' chief of staff said Thursday that the lawmaker was not available to discuss his bill because he had already left Austin for the Easter holiday. His legislation is scheduled for a hearing Wednesday in the House State Affairs Committee.
While Simmons' bill does not mention bathrooms, it would replace non-discrimination criteria approved by city officials with those approved by state lawmakers. In effect, localities no longer could allow transgender people to use public bathrooms that match their gender identity in government-owned buildings because they would not be considered a protected class under state statute.
The initial bill, which Simmons told The Dallas Morning News he intended to amend before Wednesday's hearing, drew sharp rebukes from big-city officials, LGBT rights organizations and the state's largest business group. They have staunchly opposed attempts by some Republican lawmakers to restrict local elected officials' authority to pass their own measures against discrimination, which often include provisions to protect members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities.
Jeff Coyle, San Antonio's director of government and public affairs, said the bill, as written currently, would gut the non-discrimination ordinance that city council members approved in 2013.
Dallas City Councilman Lee Kleinman said  . . . . "We're against it because we have a non-discrimination ordinance, and we certainly don't want it preempted by the state," he said. "This is yet another one of these legislative sessions where they're just so adverse to municipalities; it's unfortunate, and I don't understand it."
Chris Wallace, president of the Texas Association of Business, also hinted at the group's opposition.  "We remain focused on stopping discriminatory legislation and keeping Texas open for business and inviting for all," he told the Morning News, adding that the association was still looking at Simmons' bill.
 Seemingly, Texas Republicans have learned nothing from the experience of North Carolina. 

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