FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Liz Zornes
APRIL 7, 2015 (512) 463-0746
REP. ANCHIA JOINS SEN. ELLIS, BILL HAMMOND OF TAB TO SPEAK AGAINST ANTI-LGBT LEGISLATION
(Austin) Today, at a press conference at the State Capitol, Rep. Rafael Anchia (D-Dallas) joined with Sen. Rodney Ellis (D-Houston) and Bill Hammond, Chief Executive Officer of the Texas Association of Business, as well as civil liberty organizations in warning against bills filed this year that promote discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Texans, arguing that our state risks a backlash similar to that seen in Indiana and Arkansas.
“These proposed bills would undermine or even sweep away nondiscrimination ordinances put in place in major cities across the state – including my hometown of Dallas,” said Rep. Anchia. “ By undoing these protections, the Legislature would be sending a message that local control isn’t as important as some of my colleagues have long said that it is. They would be saying to the rest of the country that discrimination against our neighbors, our friends, our family members is more important. My own city and many others across the state have decided against that kind of discrimination, and the Legislature shouldn’t undermine our cities’ economic well-being or our citizens’ civil liberties.”
Sen. Ellis added, “These bills allow people to be fired from their jobs, evicted from their homes, denied public services the rest of us take for granted, and even turned into criminals simply because of who they are and whom they love. The Texas I love is better than that. This debate isn’t about businesses not serving someone they might object to, as that minimizes the seriousness of what’s at stake here.”
Two amendments to the Texas constitution would allow businesses, government employees and other individuals to use religion as a justification for legally discriminating against LGBT people. To view more anti-LGBT legislation, go to http://www.tfn.org/site/DocServer/War_LGBT_Equality_Texas.pdf.
Bill Hammond joined the legislators in voicing his concerns. “Either of these two amendments would bring the same backlash to Texas,” Hammond said. “They also would lead to potentially enormous litigation costs, hurt our efforts to attract businesses and tourism dollars that keep our economy growing, and make it harder for employers to enforce laws and company policies barring discrimination against their workers and customers. Texas is a magnet for new businesses, talent and visitors. This legislation would immediately threaten our solid brand.”