Texas SB 17 the religious right’s bill to discriminate moves forward in the Senate

sb 17

Calling SB 17 a ‘preemptive action to address the growing attack on religious beliefs’ the bill’s author Senator Charles Perry(R) moved the religious refusal bill forward today.

  • ‘Life, Liberty and Texas Values’: State Plan Would Protect Religious Rights from LGBTQ ActivismChristian Broadcasting Network
  • Texas Senate approves occupational licensing bill LGBTQ advocates call a “license to discriminate”Texas Tribune

Perry emphasized, for the benefit of his cis-normative heterosexual Christian constituents that SB 17 doesn’t circumvent state or federal law.  When questioned whether religious refusal rights will empower transphobic and homophobic licensees Perry remained silent.

In short,  SB 17 was crafted to allow discrimination against us since neither state or federal law protects LGBTQI people from discrimination.

The Dallas Morning News reports that Senate Bill 17 by Charles Perry, R-Lubbock, was approved by a vote of 19-12 on Monday. One Republican, Kel Seliger of Amarillo, voted against the bill and one Democrat, Eddie Lucio of Brownsville, voted in favor. The bill needs to receive the approval of the majority of senators once more before it heads to the Texas House for further debate.

The bill would prohibit the state’s hundreds of occupational licensing boards from enacting rules or regulations that burden “an applicant’s or license holder’s free exercise of religion.” It would also give anyone licensed by the state, including lawyers, social workers and therapists, legal cover in the event their license is threatened because of actions they took based on their faith.

Texas Legislature Doubling Down on Discriminatory Bills

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  • SB 2485, SB 2486, SB 2487: Municipal Preemption Bills Targeting Non-Discrimination Ordinances

If SB 17 signed as into law as Gov. Abbot indicated he would, LGBT Texans can be refused treatment by physicians and hospitals with one caveat. From the statement of intent:

The bill does not authorize a license holder to refuse to provide a medical service within the scope of the person’s license that is necessary to prevent death or imminent serious bodily injury.

Of course, that provision leaves a lot up to the determination of a man or woman who hates us to begin with.

Perry was also questioned about the opposition to the bill. When it was debated in committee, about 50 people spoke against the bill and just a handful supported it. But Perry chalked that up to his inaction, saying, “I didn’t rally my troops.” He said he did not read a letter penned by tourism groups, chambers of commerce and businesses like Amazon, Google and Facebook opposing his bill.

Angela Paxton, R-McKinney, issued a stern warning: “The freedom of religion, if we do not protect that, there are severe unintended consequences and we will see an unraveling of our other freedoms like we’ve never seen before.”

Because of course, rich white heteronormative people with trembling hands raised high in the air are being gunned down by police like never before.

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Kelli, Busey is managing editor at Planet Transgender


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