The Texas House passed a bill Thursday that aims to ban sexually explicit materials from school libraries. But legal experts, librarians and some parents are concerned that the bill’s language is vague and broad enough to ensnare books that are not inappropriate.
Under House Bill 900 — a priority for House Speaker Dade Phelan [photo] — sexually explicit books would be taken off shelves, and some books with sexual references would require parental consent. It passed the House by a 95-52 vote on Thursday after clearing an initial vote the previous day. The bill now heads to the Senate.
While lawmakers questioned the bill on the House floor, Texans sat cross-legged on the floor of the Capitol rotunda with books in hand to protest the legislation. Mimicking in-school reading time, the protesters read pictures books and young adult novels that could be targeted under HB 900.
Public schools in Texas would have to prominently display the Ten Commandments in every classroom starting next school year under a bill the Texas Senate approved Thursday. Senate Bill 1515 by Sen. Phil King, R-Weatherford, now heads to the House for consideration.
This is the latest attempt from Texas Republicans to inject religion into public schools. In 2021, state Sen. Bryan Hughes, a Mineola Republican, authored a bill that became law requiring schools to display donated “In God We Trust” signs.
The Senate also gave final passage to Senate Bill 1396, authored by Sen. Mayes Middleton [photo], R-Galveston, which would allow public and charter schools to adopt a policy requiring every campus to set aside a time for students and employees to read the Bible or other religious texts and to pray.
In 1980 the United States Supreme Court ruled against the state of Kentucky for essentially trying the same thing.
“We conclude that Kentucky’s statute requiring the posting of the Ten Commandments in public school rooms has no secular legislative purpose, and is therefore unconstitutional.” – U.S. Supreme Court, Stone v. Graham, 1980.
The Republican-controlled Texas State Board of Education rejected proposals in a series of votes Thursday and Friday to teach students in public school health classes that everyone, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, deserves to be treated with dignity and respect.
Board member Ruben Cortez, D-Brownsville, proposed standards requiring students in Grades 7-8 and high school be able to define and differentiate between sexual orientation and gender identity. Two other proposals called for students to learn that everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect, regardless of their orientation or identity. Board Democrats and one Republican backed all four proposals, but nine Republicans voted them down.
“Imagine the tragic message state board members have sent by refusing to acknowledge that LGBT students even exist in our classrooms,”said Carisa Lopez, political director for the Texas Freedom Network., “The board had a chance to stand with young people who are looking to feel safe and respected in their schools. A majority of board members chose to abandon them and stand with the bullies instead.”
Mary Elizabeth Castle, policy advisor at the 501(c)(3) non-profit anti-LGBT hate group Texas Values countered: “Today, we are grateful that the State Board of Education voted to stick to education and teach children how to live a healthy and productive life as opposed to confusing them with controversial political ideologies. The statewide Health standards look nothing like Austin ISD’s radical sex education propaganda; and efforts to politicize Science failed.”
Two same sex couples in Texas who fought to overturn the state’s ban on same-sex marriage were awarded more than $600,000 , a federal appeals court decided this week.
Mark Phariss and husband Vic Holmes and Cleopatra DeLeon and wife Nicole Dimetman waged a years-long legal battle to do away with Texas’ anti-gay-marriage laws. On Tuesday, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals awarded their attorneys $585,470.30 in fees and $20,202.90 in other costs.
“We’re thrilled,” said Phariss, who married Holmes in Frisco just months after the U.S. Supreme Court declared same-sex marriage legal nationwide. “It means that our attorneys finally get compensated for all of their hard work. It’s kind of a little bit sad that it was a waste of taxpayer dollars that could have gone to other things than to keep two people who love each other from getting married,” Phariss added
Since the Office of the Texas State Attorney General led the charge against their effort the award payment will come out of state coffers. Spokesman Marc Rylander said the Office of Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton was “disappointed in the ruling” and considering next steps.
After the United States Supreme Court brought marriage equality to America in Obergefell v. Hodges, Attorney General Paxton issued a formal opinion of dubious accuracy encouraging anti-gay clerks to refuse marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Paxton also noted that “numerous lawyers stand ready to assist clerks defending their religious beliefs” if any gay couples sued to vindicate their rights. And in a Facebook post, Paxton criticized Obergefell as “a dilution of marriage” and a “lawless” ruling.
The attorney fees will go to the law firm of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer and Feld, which has pledged to use the funds for future pro bono work.
Via press release from Family Research Council hate group leader Tony Per-KKK-ins:
If Texas thought it had seen the end of the transgender bathroom agenda, they were mistaken! After the overwhelming defeat voters delivered to the Houston mayor and city council for its gender-free, anti-religious liberty ordinance, conservatives are ready for the next chapter: more permanent protections against this dangerous and unpopular crusade of the Left. Like most sane people, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick (R) doesn’t think grown men should be sharing fitting rooms, locker rooms, showers, and restrooms with little girls.
To put the brakes on the Left’s campaign, Lt. Gov. Patrick has teamed up with State Senator Lois Kolkhorst, in unveiling a statewide bill, the Texas Privacy Act of 2017 (S.B. 6), which would bar public schools, state government agencies, and political subdivisions from throwing open bathroom doors to people of the opposite sex. Sounds reasonable, right? Not to the Left, which is already fueling up its propaganda machine to pump out false information about the measure would and wouldn’t do.
“I don’t know what problem he’s proposing to solve,” said Chuck Smith of Equality Texas. Why not ask the women and children at Target stores, who have been victims of voyeurs or sexual predators under genderless policies like these? Or the high school girls in Illinois, who are so afraid to undress in the locker room that they wear their gym clothes under their regular ones? The concern is not that transgendered individuals are more likely to be sexual predators, but rather that sexual predators could exploit such laws by posing as transgendered in order to gain access to women and girls.
Although the bill is similar to North Carolina’s H.B. 2, this version is exclusively focused on bathroom and shower privacy. It doesn’t preempt local entities from taking a position on gender identity in the context of hiring, housing, health care, or public accommodations like the Tar Heels’ did. “This is a public safety issue, not a discrimination issue,” Patrick said. “It’s about common courtesy and privacy, particularly for women.” And that’s a goal both sides can get behind!
If you REALLY want to protect children from predators in bathrooms. THIS is the sight that needs to be posted.
*Interesting tidbit: The lawyer that was hired to fight the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO), was back in court not much later defending a man who set up spy cameras in a women’s restroom.
Last weekend, Jason Thomas posted a candid observation of a painful anniversary to his Facebook page: It was one year, to the day, since Watermark Community Church had sent him a letter revoking his membership in the congregation to which he had belonged for years because he is gay.
Thomas was a faithful member of the nondenominational church, which has more than 10,000 members across three Dallas-area campuses. He tried for years to conform to church requirements that he alter his essential nature, “repent” his sexual orientation, undergo a form of “conversion therapy” that research, as well as mainstream psychologists and counselors, have denounced as harmful and pointless.
“I spent years in your church battling against my homosexuality. I believed with all my heart that God would change me; I prayed for change almost daily,” Thomas wrote in an open letter to Watermark. “But when I wasn’t able to change, you turned your back on me.”
“Being gay and Christian seems to be not a thing to a lot of people but I disagree with that, you can be gay and Christian at the same time,” Thomas says.
But after Thomas came out to the megachurch and said he wanted to continue being a Watermark member as a gay man, the church sent him a letter.
It called his same sex relationship a “destructive pattern,” cited his “unwillingness to heed biblical counsel” and said that he was “No longer a member of our body at Watermark.” while saying that they “lovingly, but firmly, call you back to repentance.”
That was a year ago.
Thomas, who lives in Carrollton, has since attended two other churches that welcomed him warmly. He said he posted his open letter in the hope that “people will at least know what they are getting into” if they choose to join Watermark.
“I just don’t think that they are aware of the impact this is having on people’s lives,” he said. “I don’t want to go to war with the church, I don’t want to go to battle with them. I don’t want to say negative things about them. I just want them to recognize that they can do a better job at loving people.”
The family of 28-year-old Marc Pourner became concerned last week when he did not turn up for work in Houston, TX and reported him missing.
On Saturday, police identified his remains and vehicle in Montgomery County where his body was found bound and gagged with evidence of blunt force trauma to his head near his truck which was set on fire.
The victim’s father, Mark Pourner told KTRK-TV that he believes the murder is a hate crime because Marc was gay.
“In our discussion with the detectives one of the first things I told them when they briefed us this morning was that one of the things that struck me about how this crime was carried out was the speed and cold efficiency that it took place with.”
According to About News, the tip came from a “person of interest” who is connected to the victim
The case has not been “officially” declared a hate crime at the time of this writing.
After a week of intense pressure, ridicule, and complaints the owner of the Houston Texan’s football team Bob McNair is rescinding a $10,000 contribution he made to Campaign of Houston, the anti-gay group that is trying to overturn the city’s the anti-LGBT discrimination law otherwise know as HERO in an upcoming voter referendum.
Texans owner Bob McNair is rescinding a $10,000 contribution he made to Campaign of Houston after being involved in a controversy surrounding opposition to HERO, the city’s equal rights ordinance. McNair released a lengthy statement Friday where he said unauthorized statements attributed to his beliefs were distributed that were never discussed with him, saying he won’t tolerate any personal or professional discrimination.
McNair’s full statement:
“I recently made a personal contribution to Campaign for Houston because my thorough review of the HERO ordinance led me to believe that a thoughtful rewrite would provide a better ordinance that would provide strong non-discrimination protections for all Houstonians, which I would support, and would be less divisive of our city.
“It was on these principles that I made my personal contribution to Campaign for Houston. To my great dismay, Campaign for Houston made numerous unauthorized statements about my opposition to HERO in print, broadcast and social media – including attributing certain statements of belief to me. Their actions and statements were never discussed with nor approved by me. Therefore I instructed the Campaign to return my contribution.
“I do not believe in or tolerate personal or professional discrimination of any kind. I also believe that we Houstonians should have an ordinance that unites our community and provides a bold statement of non-discrimination. I encourage all Houstonians to vote on November 3. Robert F. Kennedy once said, ‘Few will have the greatness to bend history itself; but each of us can work together to change a small portion of events, and in the total of those acts will be written the history of our generation.’”
A heartless Texas family court judge has denied the request of a legally married same-sex couple to adopt their newborn biological twin sons.
Jason and Joe each biologically fathered one of the twins, and the boys–who are half-brothers–share an egg donor. The fathers and their boys make up a loving family. However, the state of Texas refuses to acknowledge them as such.
Neither Jason nor Joe are listed as fathers on either of their sons’ birth certificates, which the men have not been able to see. They petitioned a judge in Fort Worth to add each of their names to their biological sons’ birth certificates and to cross-adopt, or second-parent adopt, the boys. The judge has denied the family both requests.
In Texas, as in 17 other states, the law is “unclear” as to whether LGBT parents can jointly adopt, meaning family protections vary from judge to judge or county to county. Because Texas does not recognize Jason and Joe’s marriage, the couples second-parent adoption is much harder to achieve.
The judge also denied a petition to list both men — or either — on the children’s birth certificates, even though Jason Hanna and Joe Riggs each biologically fathered one of the twin boys, Lucas and Ethan.
The brief states that U.S. District Judge Orlando L. Garcia’s February decision striking down the marriage bans opened the door to a variety of unions that society has deemed unacceptable. “The district court broadened the definition of the ‘existing right to marry’ as one that includes the right of people to ‘select the partners of their choosing’ for marriage, without regard to sex,” the brief states. “If the right to select ‘partners of their choosing’ is the criterion used to invoke marriage as a fundamental right, then marriage restrictions on age, polygamy, and consanguinity are also ripe for challenge.”
The brief also argues that there is a rational basis for the marriage bans because legislators cited arguments they believed to be plausible in passing them. “Another ground cited by supporters of Texas’s marriage laws and subsequently dismissed by the district court is that recognition of same-sex marriage ‘could lead to the recognition of bigamy, incest, pedophilia, and group marriage,’” the brief states. “As already discussed in this brief, restrictions on marriage relating to these moral considerations remain valid. Thus, the goal of actively trying to prevent those practices from becoming valid is entirely rational public policy.”
The Legislators who signed the friend-of-court brief are members of the Texas Conservative Coalition and have done so to uphold Texas’ ban on same-sex marriage.
Below is the full list of the legislators who signed the Texas Conservative Coalition brief. Now you know who NOT to vote for and who you should work to destroy thier political career. (Read the full brief.)
Brian Birdwell, Texas Senate
Donna Campbell, Texas Senate
Bob Deuell, Texas Senate
Craig Estes, Texas Senate
Troy Fraser, Texas Senate
Kelly Hancock, Texas Senate
Robert Nichols, Texas Senate
Dan Patrick, Texas Senate
Ken Paxton, Texas Senate
Charles Schwertner, Texas Senate
Larry Taylor, Texas Senate
Charles “Doc” Anderson, Texas House of Representatives
Trent Ashby, Texas House of Representatives
Cecil Bell, Jr., Texas House of Representatives
Dwayne Bohac, Texas House of Representatives Case: 14-50196 Document:
Dennis Bonnen, Texas House of Representatives
Greg Bonnen, Texas House of Representatives
Angie Chen Button, Texas House of Representatives
Tom Craddick, Texas House of Representatives
Brandon Creighton, Texas House of Representatives
Myra Crownover, Texas House of Representatives
Gary Elkins, Texas House of Representatives
Pat Fallon, Texas House of Representatives
Allen Fletcher, Texas House of Representatives
Dan Flynn, Texas House of Representatives
James Frank, Texas House of Representatives
John Frullo, Texas House of Representatives
Craig Goldman, Texas House of Representatives
Larry Gonzales, Texas House of Representatives
Lance Gooden, Texas House of Representatives
Linda Harper-Brown, Texas House of Representatives
Harvey Hilderbran, Texas House of Representatives
Bryan Hughes, Texas House of Representatives
Jason Isaac, Texas House of Representatives
Phil King, Texas House of Representatives
Tim Kleinschmidt, Texas House of Representatives
Stephanie Klick, Texas House of Representatives
Lois Kolkhorst, Texas House of Representatives
Matt Krause, Texas House of Representatives
Jodie Laubenberg, Texas House of Representatives
George Lavender, Texas House of Representatives
Jeff Leach, Texas House of Representatives
Tryon Lewis, Texas House of Representatives
Rick Miller, Texas House of Representatives
Geanie Morrison, Texas House of Representatives
Jim Murphy, Texas House of Representatives
Rob Orr, Texas House of Representatives
John Otto, Texas House of Representatives
Tan Parker, Texas House of Representatives
Charles Perry, Texas House of Representatives
Larry Phillips, Texas House of Representatives
Scott Sanford, Texas House of Representatives
Matt Schaefer, Texas House of Representatives
Ralph Sheffield, Texas House of Representatives
Ron Simmons, Texas House of Representatives
John Smithee, Texas House of Representatives
Drew Springer, Texas House of Representatives
Van Taylor, Texas House of Representatives
Ed Thompson, Texas House of Representatives
Steve Toth, Texas House of Representatives
Scott Turner, Texas House of Representatives
James White, Texas House of Representatives
Bill Zedler, Texas House of Representatives