Join the Texas Campaign to End LGBT Discrimination
In Texas today it is legal to fire, deny housing or refuse service to gay and transgender Texans simply because of who they are. Without legal protections, many Texans must live with the burden of knowing that at any moment they could lose their livelihood with no recourse to defend themselves from discrimination. That’s why Texas Research Institute—Progress Texas’ educational arm—has joined a coalition of groups to launch Texas Wins—a new grassroots campaign that will fight back against discrimination in our state.
Though polls show 75% of Texans support prohibiting employment and housing discrimination based on sexual orientation, current state law does not protect Texans from being fired or discriminated against due to their sexual orientation or gender expression.
This week, Senators José Rodríguez, Rodney Elllis, Sylvia Garcia, Kirk Watson and John Whitmire introduced Senate Bill 856, a statewide anti-discrimination bill that would prohibit discrimination in the areas of employment, public accommodation, housing and state contracting based upon sexual orientation or gender identity.
In the absence of statewide protection, cities and counties across the state have acted, extending discrimination protection to LGBT residents. But these local laws are under attack by Republicans in the Texas legislature.
Two Republican legislators— Representative Rick Miller and Senator Don Huffines—have introduced bills—House Bill 1556 and Senate Bill 343—that would bar cities from adopting or enforcing nondiscrimination ordinances that include protected classes not contained in state law. These laws would nullify local LGBT protections passed in Austin, Dallas, San Antonio, El Paso, Fort Worth, Houston and Plano.
Senator Donna Campbell and Representative Jason Villalba have proposed two radically discriminatory bills aimed at rendering these local nondiscrimination laws toothless under the guise of “religious freedom.” These constitutional amendments—SJR 10 and HJR 55—would allow individuals and institutions to fire or turn away LGBT Texans and would also harm women, children and Texans of all faiths.
Though we’ve come far in the fight for equality, with the freedom to marry in sight, we still have a lot of work to do towards justice for all Texans. Click here to sign Texas Wins’ pledge, because it’s time to end discrimination against LGBT Texans.