Thanks to Texas state Rep. Julie Johnson, a bill that could have legalized LGBTQ discrimination in the Lone Star state has been effectively killed just hours before a crucial deadline.
House Bill 3172, authored and sponsored by GOP state Rep. Matt Krause, a Fort Worth area lawmaker, would have banned cities and other governmental entities from taking “adverse action” against anyone for their “membership in, affiliation with, or contribution, donation or other support” to a religious organization.
It became known as the “Save Chick-fil-A” bill as supporters felt it would have helped avoid the recent boycott and eventual elimination of the fast-food chain from San Antonio’s airport. Chick-fil-A has a years-long history of making donations to anti-LGBTQ organizations that advocate against LGBTQ rights.
The Dallas Voice had labeled the legislation one of the “most extreme anti-LGBT bills this session.”
Johnson, a freshman lawmaker and member of the newly-formed LGBTQ Caucus, told Dallas News she and her colleagues realized the bill was coming up on a midnight deadline Thursday. The caucus members strategized on the best ways to kill the homophobic legislation.
First, they offered a point of order saying amendments to the bill had improperly expanded the legislation’s scope. That attempt proved unsuccessful.
Then, Johnson offered another point of order arguing the analysis of the bill’s impact was inaccurate. The House parliamentarians accepted that argument as valid.
Johnson said afterwards that it was “an honor to be fighting this fight” and to be able to shut down “a very hurtful piece of legislation.”
Proud of @juliejohnsonTX and the @txlgbtqcaucus for stopping the anti-LGBTQ bill that would have legalized discrimination and cost Texas billions of dollars in business. Once again, Texas does not stand for hate.
— Texas Democrats (@texasdemocrats) May 10, 2019
Krause continued to defend his bill saying the bill wasn’t homophobic, merely a protection for Texans who exercise their “sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction, including beliefs or convictions regarding marriage.”
Dallas News reports that when the bill was pronounced dead, lawmakers stood and cheered while somewhere on the House floor someone played a recording of “Taps.”
While the deadline to approve House bills has come and gone, there is still a possibility Krause’s objectives could be met. House lawmakers still have Senate bills to debate, and in that process, could attempt to amend one of those bills with similar language to House Bill 3172.