Faith leaders from across Texas gathered Tuesday at the state Capitol, urging legislators to lift the state’s ban on gay marriage and pass laws forbidding discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
While some cities — such as San Antonio, Houston and Plano — have recently passed ordinances that provide lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people protections against discrimination in areas like employment and housing, the faith leaders said legislation is needed to ensure those rights statewide.
“I recognize, as a happily married straight man, that I am afforded legal and social protections that our LGBT members are still not allowed in many cases,” said the Rev. Eric Folkerth of Northaven United Methodist Church in Dallas, to a crowd of more than 200 people gathered on the Capitol’s north steps. “The idea that any of them would be discriminated against by state or local law is absolutely unacceptable.”
But the rally participants — who chanted, “We demand equality!” — are aware of the barriers they face in the Legislature. Proposals at the Capitol to prevent discrimination against LGBT people have failed for years.
“I think that we have heard a lot from the faith community, but we have only heard one side of the faith community,” said the Rev. Leslie Jackson, who came to the Capitol from the United Church of Christ in Houston to speak at the event. “There are Christians in this state that do support equality, but they are hearing from this other, dominant voice. There is another view that needs to be heard.”
The group is pushing bills such as House Bill 70 by Rep. Mary González, D-Clint, which would bar discrimination in schools based on sexual orientation, and HB 130, by Rep. Rafael Anchia, D-Dallas, which would repeal the state’s ban on same-sex marriage.
I agree completely with Rev. Jackson. For one, it’s never wrong to do the right thing. For two, if we don’t stand for what we believe in, no one will. For three, it’s good to remind some folks who may believe or are being told that religious liberals don’t exist that they do in fact walk this earth. We may only be able to play defense this session, but that’s a really important thing to do, and ultimately this is about the long term. Keep up the good fight and don’t give up. TFN Insider has more.