Wednesday, September 11, 2013

TX AG Threatens Lawsuit Against San Antonio LGBT Rights Ordinance

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott is running to be the next Governor of Texas and is demonstrating his homophobic bona fides to that electorate of that very red state by threatening to file a federal lawsuit to invalidate the recently enacted ordinance in San Antonio which includes sexual orientation and gender identity as categories it is prohibited to discriminate on the basis of.
The law, which was passed 8-3 on Thursday, adds sexual orientation and 'gender identity' to the state's current non discrimination laws.

  But Abbott and other conservative activists say haste on the part of supporters to ram the NDO through, and last minute changes made during the debate make the law a 'mess' and make it unenforceable and illegal.
  "Section 32 of Article One of the Texas Constitution concerns same sex marriage," Abbott said.  "If someone says we are going to stand on the law, they would be guilty of violating that San Antonio ordinance." 
  The state has a 'supremacy clause' much like the federal government, stressing that municipal law cannot override state law. 
  Abbott says the San Antonio law does just that, violating several state laws. 
  "There is a provision in here, that seems to silence anyone who may have a disagreement with that ordinance," Abbott said.  "I believe that violates the First Amendment protections of freedom of speech and freedom of religion, and violates the Texas Constitution."
There is actually some truth toAbbot's argument. The ordinance does more than just prohibit discrimination against LGBT people.

According to the New York Times:
The ordinance adds sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of classes protected from bias, including race, religion, age and disability. It affects city employees, city contracts, housing and city officials as well as members of municipal boards and commissions. It also applies to restaurants and other businesses, making it unlawful to deny anyone any services available to the general public on the basis of sexual orientation or any of the other protected classes. Language was added that no person or group was required to support or advocate “any particular lifestyle or religious view.”
There is also a provision in the previous version of the ordinance that says that an elected official can be removed from office if they show bias "by word or deed" based on the current categories but the ordinance was amended to not include sexual orientation and gender identity as categories for which this provision would apply.

The real point here is that Abbott is trying to burnish his credentials with the voters of Texas as being a heterosexual supremacist. He is not opposed to the ordinance because it may impinge free speech rights, he is annoyed that the 7th largest city in the country (and 3rd largest in Texas) passed an ordinance that protects LGBT people from discrimination.

No comments:


Blog Widget by LinkWithin