So NO to Texas sb92
Texas law does not include specific language addressing gender identity and sexual orientation, however, several municipalities have enacted specific laws addressing discrimination against the LGBT community. Texas Senate Bill 92, proposed by Senator Bob Hall, would prohibit cities or counties from passing laws against discrimination on any basis not explicitly mentioned in state law, to include sexual orientation or gender identity. This law, if passed, would remove protections for the LGBT community among others and potentially allow businesses, employers, or landlords to discriminate with impunity.
As a Christian, I believe discrimination of any kind, for any reason, should not be tolerated. How other people choose to live their lives or whom they choose to love does not threaten me or my beliefs, but discrimination based on those beliefs can harm other people. This law, if passed, has the potential to harm people I love. I have friends and family members who have been harassed, abused, discriminated against, and hurt by hateful, intolerant people. That's not right and people should not be allowed to cause harm to others under the guise of religion.
If the government were to allow religious practices to be exempt from the law, then man in essence would govern himself since anything could be called a religious practice. One can see where this could lead. What religious practices should be allowed and which ones shouldn’t? Are Christian-based actions okay but Muslim-based ones not? If it’s okay to discriminate against homosexuality because of Christian beliefs, who is to say honor killings under the Muslim faith are unlawful?
As an attorney and a veteran, I understand the importance of religious freedom in this country. I have served my country in the United States Air Force. I served in Afghanistan and saw first-hand what hate and intolerance looks like. As an American woman in the armed forces, I was hated simply because of who I was, not for any actions taken on my part. My opinions did not matter. I was treated as a lesser person, despite being more educated than most of the men in the room. Afghan men stared and spat at me simply because I was a woman. It is an unpleasant feeling; one I don’t wish for anyone else, especially those I love. I spoke with Afghan women who were imprisoned because they did not want to marry a man 3 times their age. There was a young girl aged fourteen or fifteen who was imprisoned because her father raped her. She was accused of adultery and gave birth to her child in prison. All done in the name of religion. Is this what we want in the United States? That’s not what I fought for.
The Supreme Court in Reynolds v. United States, 98 U.S. 145 (1878) looked back at the history of religious freedom in the United States and quoted Thomas Jefferson who stated that there was a distinction between religious belief and action that flowed from religious belief. Belief "lies solely between man and his God," therefore "the legislative powers of the government reach actions only, and not opinions." Allowing individuals to discriminate based on religious beliefs are actions that should not be allowed. That is what these local ordinances attempt to do: protect individuals from being treated as lesser humans.
Do not allow Senate Bill 92 to become law.