Thursday, May 16, 2019

After Texas House Kills 'Save Chick-fil-A Bill,' the Senate Passes a Similar 'Religious Liberty' Proposal

Posted By on Thu, May 16, 2019 at 10:13 AM

click to enlarge The Texas Senate, under the leadership of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, has approved the so-called "Save Chick-fil-A Bill." - GAGE SKIDMORE
  • Gage Skidmore
  • The Texas Senate, under the leadership of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, has approved the so-called "Save Chick-fil-A Bill."
The Texas Senate — over the objection of Democrats and LGBTQ advocates — has blessed a toned-down version of a so-called religious liberty measure dubbed the "Save Chick-fil-A Bill."

Senate Bill 1978 was approved 19-12 Wednesday, largely along party lines. It faces one more Senate vote before heading to the House, where the body's LGBTQ Caucus last week used a procedural maneuver to kill an almost-identical proposal.

The Senate bill would prohibit government entities from penalizing people and businesses for belonging to or donating to religious groups. Its nickname references a provision that would let Texas' attorney general sue the City of San Antonio for not granting Chick-fil-A an airport concession over the business' donations to groups with anti-LGBTQ agendas.

LGBTQ groups blasted the original bill, calling it the most discriminatory of the session due to its broad provisions to stop government entities from taking “adverse action” against individuals or groups based on their religious agendas, “including beliefs or convictions regarding marriage.”

While the revised version narrowed that language, civil-rights advocates said the proposal still pushes an anti-LGBTQ agenda. Language in the bill mirrors that suggested by Project Blitz, a national initiative to push through anti-LGBTQ legislation, they pointed out.

"Session after session, we end up entertaining legislation that sends a message to my LGBT staff members. … They feel they're coming under attack for who they are. So the question I have is: What do you say to them?” State Sen. José Menéndez, D-San Antonio, asked during the debate, according to the Texas Tribune. “Do you think Chick-fil-A needs more protection from us than our constituents who have a history of being discriminated against?”

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