Dan Patrick buys airtime for anti-HERO ads

Of course he does.


With the start of early voting Monday, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick began lending his voice and his pocketbook to radio and TV ads urging Houston voters to reject the city’s embattled equal rights ordinance.

At a news conference Monday in Houston, Patrick echoed the chief criticism of equal rights ordinance opponents – that the law would allow men to enter women’s restrooms – and he blasted Mayor Annise Parker, saying she “ought to be embarrassed” by the ordinance.

In Patrick’s TV ad, set to begin Tuesday airing on cable and network stations, he tells voters that “no woman should have to share a public restroom or locker room with a man.”

The radio and TV ads totaling about $70,000 were paid for by Texans for Dan Patrick. The former Republican state senator from Houston defended his decision to wade into a local issue.

“I think this is an extraordinary circumstance,” Patrick said. “This is absurd. Years ago, a decade ago, we would laugh at even thinking about that the people would cast a vote to keep men out of ladies rooms.”

Thanks for supplying another example of the shameless lying that the leaders of the anti-HERO effort have been engaging in, Dan. If you were a Catholic, I’d tell you to get yourself to confession ASAP. Be that as it may, I doubt this makes much difference. I mean, if you’re the kind of person who can be persuaded by Dan Patrick to vote a given way, you probably weren’t on our side in the first place. He may get a few people who were otherwise going to sit it out to get out and vote, but being Dan Patrick there’s a good chance some of them will be people going out to vote against whatever it is he’s advocating. More likely, he’s laying some groundwork for a 2017 legislative assault on LGBT rights, couched as always in the guise of “religious freedom”, as a commenter from yesterday suggested. You should click that last link to get an idea of the scope of bad policy that could be on its way, because some if not most of it is likely to get enacted. And I guarantee you, just as it was with Indiana and Arkansas, all of this will generate negative national attention for Texas, just as the anti-HERO effort that Patrick is now abetting is generating for Houston.

In the meantime, this press release hit my mailbox yesterday morning:

Joint Press Release from the Texas Freedom Network and the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas


TFN, ACLU of Texas Announce Effort to Track Instances of Religious Refusals

October 20, 2015
Contacts: Dan Quinn, TFN, 512.322.0545; Tom Hargis, ACLU of Texas, 713.325.7006

Two leading civil and religious liberties organizations in Texas are warning against efforts by elected officials to misuse religion to defend discrimination in the state. The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas and the Texas Freedom Network announced today an effort to track instances of religious refusals by government officials and businesses. Individuals can report such instances at www.texansequalunderlaw.com/story.

Efforts to carve out special religious exemptions to state and local laws designed to protect the common good – especially nondiscrimination measures – distort the true meaning of religious liberty and put all Texans at risk, said Rebecca Marques, policy and advocacy strategist for the ACLU of Texas.

“Religious freedom is one of our fundamental rights as Americans,” Marques said. “That’s why we protect it in our Constitution. But religious freedom doesn’t give anyone the right to refuse to obey laws that everyone else must obey or to discriminate against or harm others.”

Earlier this month Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick asked state senators to recommend allowing government officials and employees, other individuals and businesses to refuse to obey laws to which they object because of their personal religious beliefs.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton also sent letters to legislative leaders supporting such “religious refusal” policies. Paxton specifically supported the right of government employees and businesses to refuse to recognize or provide services for the marriages of gay and lesbian couples. He also called for changes in state law that would limit the ability of local governments to adopt protections against discrimination.

Religious freedom doesn’t give government officials and employers the right to impose their religious beliefs on others or to pick and choose which laws they will obey, said Rabbi Neal Katz of Tyler, a board member for the Texas Freedom Network.

“One of our most important values is treating others the way we want to be treated, and we all have the right to equal treatment under the law,” Katz said. “Nobody should be turned away from a business or government office, refused service, or evicted from their home simply because they don’t share another person’s religious beliefs or because of who they are or whom they love. That discrimination distorts the real meaning of religious liberty.”

Obergfell may be settled, but the fight is far from over. Don’t sleep on this.

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14 Responses to Dan Patrick buys airtime for anti-HERO ads

  1. Ross says:

    Of course Dan Patrick would do this. His evilness knows no bounds. Yet another jerk who thinks it’s OK to force his world view on everyone else.

  2. Paul kubosh says:

    Well he was elected lt. Governor so like it or not that is kind of his job. “To lead”.

  3. matx says:

    It is sad that some Texans want to deny basic rights to fellow Texans. Sadder still that they claim they are being religiously persecuted when they are not, even though the US Constitution affords freedom of (and *from*) religion to all.

  4. C.L. says:

    Now I can add Dan Patrick to my growing list of Ass Clowns. Right in front of him is Lance Berkman and Bob McNair.

  5. Patrick says:

    Respectfully, there is a world of difference between leading and misleading, Mr. Kubosh.

  6. voter_worker says:

    He may be leading us into an Indiana-style media conflagration in 2017, I’ll grant you that.

  7. J says:

    Why do the supporters of HERO assert that the “no opposite sex in bathroom disturbance” ordinance trumps what HERO says? HERO itself says that the MWBE (minority, women preference in city contracts) program “does not conflict.” But HERO did not do that for the bathroom ordinance that it seems to be could be in conflict.

    I am voting for HERO, but I like to try to be consistent in my analysis and opinions. I suspect the existing bathroom ordinance is not a “complete answer” to HERO objectors — people like my grandmother in her mid-80s who would be discombobulated by Caitlyn Jenner walking into her bathroom. That alone would be a “disturbance” to many people.

    I won’t accuse HERO supporters of being the most flagrant liars ever to walk the earth. I am just wondering.

    HERO also does not carve out the City’s (or maybe it is just HPD and HFD) program to favor veterans in hiring, so it seems those programs might be in violation as well. Any views on that?

  8. Jason says:

    People continue to bring up all the classes HERO protects, several of which are already protected federally. They were thrown in to muddy the water. This is about gay rights-start and finish. They understood what happened in California and tried to tie it to civil rights, which most reasonable people support. In my short life I can’t believe it is ok to wake up and proclaim your “gender identity” at the moment.

  9. Robbie Westmoreland says:

    If the disagreement is about the definition of gender identity, then the discussion should be about that, not about bathrooms.
    That is, if someone objects to it being enshrined in city ordinance that Caitlyn Jenner is a woman, then that’s at least got the virtue of being a legal issue that’s clearly changing under this ordinance. I think that argument is on the verge of already lost by the advocates for gender-determined-at-birth, but it’s at least an honest discussion of people’s sentiments.

    I only mention the existing bathroom ordinance in response to those who contend that this ordinance eliminates some legal bar that currently prevents men from entering women’s facilities. That’s a complete red herring. If a man wants to use the women’s restroom at a Denny’s in Houston, he can legally do so as long as he doesn’t do so “in a manner calculated to cause a disturbance.”

    The bathroom thing is purely a dog whistle for those who don’t want to give legal recognition to gender transition.

    The potential public policy reason for having local ordinances that provide additional protections to classes covered under other laws is to provide more active enforcement of rights. It’s arguably easier to get a local authority to act quickly to address discriminatory practices than it is to attempt to do so through a federal lawsuit.

    Discussions of the affect of HERO on affirmative action policies, or whether they’re the best way to establish and enforce civil rights are a great deal more intellectually honest than are bogey-men-in-the-ladies’ arguments, in my opinion. They just don’t play as well in fearmongering soundbites or thundered from pulpits.

  10. J says:

    All very well reasoned, Robbie. I’d agree with you in a vacuum, if this issue popped up today without any history.

    But I think the main reason we are in this place is that Mayor Parker included in her initial ordinance a separate section about transgender people using bathrooms. I have looked at several ordinances around the country, and none contain that provision. But she led with it.

    That makes the issue not a dog whistle.

    And this statement you make is the exact opposite of what the spokesperson for Houston United said in the last day or two: “If a man wants to use the women’s restroom at a Denny’s in Houston, he can legally do so as long as he doesn’t do so “in a manner calculated to cause a disturbance.”

    He said: Richard Carlbom, spokesman for supporters of the ordinance, pushed back on Patrick’s ad in a statement Monday. “The lieutenant governor must know it’s illegal now – and will always be – to enter the wrong restroom,” he said.

  11. C.L. says:

    Anyone have any statistical data on number of individuals detained and/or arrested for using the wrong bathroom in Harris County ?

  12. matx says:

    C. L. – if it existed it would bolster Pro- or anti- of the HERO issue and would have been put out there. Either it doesn’t happen, happens so rarely (like in-person voting fraud), or it’s just one of those statistics that isn’t important enough to keep track of.

  13. C.L. says:

    @matx Then I’m left to believe it happens so infrequently as to not even appear on a spreadsheet held by HPD or HCSO. One would think that the ‘No to HERO’ crowd would have used the information to their benefit had they possessed cold hard facts about the frequency of such an offense. Conversely, ‘Pro HERO’ folks would utilize the data to their benefit if it proved infrequent….

    Hmmm… 2015, Age of Ultron and Marty McFly’s hoverboard, and it’s not being tracked anywhere ?

    My conclusion ? It’s not happening.

  14. Steve Houston says:

    Both the city and county have the capability to track any specific violation in their system via the code they assign them. If anyone is interested in filing the public information request, you might also file a request asking how many similar requests each has had for the number of violations. It is my understanding that after the city took such a beating in national news over the “Pottygate” affair at the summit, it’s officers were clearly instructed that the core requirement of the matter was the disturbance which HAD to be committed by the person being charged, NOT that someone got upset over them being in the wrong bathroom.

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