Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick and Attorney General Ken Paxton are at it again.
This year, Texas lawmakers considered a record number of bills targeting LGBT people for discrimination and persecution, but almost all of them failed to pass. The state’s top elected leaders haven’t given up yet, however, and recently laid out extensive plans for future anti-LGBT bills.
Last week, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) announced interim charges for the various committees in the legislature. At the top of his list for the State Affairs Committee was “religious liberty,” encouraging “recommendations to ensure that the government does not force individuals, organizations or businesses to violate their sincerely held religious beliefs.”
The same day, Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) was at the ready with a detailed list of proposals the Texas legislature might consider, both for how to further limit a woman’s right to choose, and for “protecting religious liberties.”
Paxton’s proposals read as general principles that skimp on the details, but are immediately recognizable as mirroring other approaches that have been considered by conservative lawmakers across the country.
Paxton's proposals include allowing faith-based organizations like student groups, adoption or foster agencies to maintain taxpayer subsidies while discriminating against LGBT Americans, making exemptions for government workers who oppose marriage equality, allowing the practice of conversion therapy for minors, letting businesses and closely-held corporations refuse wedding-related services to same-sex couples, and more. It's a wide range of odious ideals that aim to reduce the LGBT community into second-class citizens.