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Texas House LGBTI caucus torpedoes ‘Save Chick-fil-A’ bill

Texas House LGBTI caucus torpedoes ‘Save Chick-fil-A’ bill

The Texas Senate in Austin

The Texas LGBTI caucus used a parliamentary maneuver to defeat a ‘religious liberty’ bill.

Five Democratic lawmakers successfully challenged Republican Matt Krause’s House Bill 3172 in the Texas House on Thursday (9 May).

The bill had been designed to ban any governments from taking ‘any adverse action’ against people or businesses based on their affiliations or support for religious organizations.

It had been dubbed the ‘Save Chick-fil-A’ bill. This comes after San Antonio’s city council voted to ban a Chick-fil-A from opening in the city’s airport in March due to the company’s support for anti-LGBTI religious groups and opposition to marriage equality.

Opponents to the bill had said it could legitimize discrimination against LGBTI people on the grounds of religious beliefs.

‘Hopefully, today is the day discrimination against LGBT Texans dies in the Texas House’ 

The successful point of order which defeated the bill came from Representative Julie Johnson, one of the members of the all-female House LGBTI Caucus.

After her first point of order failed, Johnson was successful on her second attempt at which came before the midnight deadline to pass the legislation, Dallas News reports.

‘We don’t need to have speech coming on the House floor that in any way validates hate against our community, that validates discrimination under the guise of religious protection,’ Johnson said afterward.

‘Hopefully, today is the day discrimination against LGBT Texans dies in the Texas House,’ Johnson added. ‘This was a distraction, and I am thrilled that we were able to end it this way.’

Johnson also said ‘LGBT+ discrimination is no longer the deal of the Texas House’ in a Facebook video for LGBTI rights group, Equality Texas.

‘Ding dong! The bill is dead’

Krause had proposed the bill as a means to protect businesses from governments which would penalize them for associations with religious groups.

‘The fact that the government can penalize somebody just for who they associate with or who they donate to with private dollars is something we should all be concerned about no matter which side of the aisle, which side of the ideological divide you are on,’ Krause said.

Democrats argued that the bill was unnecessary, and could potentially open the door discrimination against the LGBTI community.

Though the bill could be amended and proposed again, its defeat was praised by LGBTI rights supporters.

‘Ding dong! The bill is dead. Which old bill? The wicked bill. Ding dong! The wicked bill is dead!’ Johnson, who is openly gay, posted on her personal Twitter account.

LGBTI rights group the Human Rights Campaign also tweeted their congratulations, writing: Thank you @JulieJohnsonTX for being a strong voice for LGBTQ Texans

History for support for anti-LGBTI causes

Chick-fil-A has a long record of supporting groups with anti-LGBTI agendas.

The company reportedly donated around $2 million to anti-gay groups in 2010. Tax records show that they have continued to make similar donations as recently as 2017.

The company’s COO, Dan Cathy, has also said that Chick-fil-A stands against marriage equality and operates on ‘biblical principles’.

San Antonio is not the only place to ban Chick-fil-A from opening a branch at its airport.

In April, Buffalo Niagara International Airport in New York also said they would stop a Chick-fil-A from opening on location.

Prior to this, Rider University in New Jersey removed Chick-fil-A as an option for a new campus restaurant due to their support for anti-LGBTI organizations in November last year.